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Tokyo Olympics brace for Tropical Storm Nepartak, preemptively shift rowing schedule

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 7/24/2021 Christine Fernando, USA TODAY
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Just as the long-awaited Tokyo Olympics is underway, in addition to COVID obstacles, a weather threat may throw another wrench into the Summer Games.

Tropical Storm Nepartak, which formed Friday night over the western Pacific Ocean, southeast of Japan, may arrive at the shores of mainland Japan by Tuesday with Tokyo in the forecast cone, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center. Maximum winds of 40 mph are expected when the storm reaches the island nation.

a group of men riding on the back of a boat in the water: Tokyo, Japan; Donata Karaliene (LTU) and Milda Valciukaite (LTU) compete in the Womens Double Sculls Heats on Jul 23, 2021, during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Sea Forest Waterway in Tokyo, Japan. © Andrew Nelles, Andrew Nelles-USA TODAY Network Tokyo, Japan; Donata Karaliene (LTU) and Milda Valciukaite (LTU) compete in the Womens Double Sculls Heats on Jul 23, 2021, during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Sea Forest Waterway in Tokyo, Japan.

The storm may bring "hazardous phenomena such as heavy rain, strong winds and high waves," according to forecasts by the Japan Meteorological Agency.

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There is still a lot of uncertainty about the storm's path and intensity, the Joint Typhoon Warning Center said.

Organizers have preemptively shifted the rowing schedule as the Olympics braces for the storm, Reuters reported. Monday's rowing races have been moved to Sunday due to inclement weather forecasts, the World Rowing Executive Committee said on Friday, according to the news outlet.

"Adverse weather is expected on Monday which would bring high winds and strong gusts creating probably unequal and potentially unrowable racing conditions," the committee said in a statement.

Takaya Masa, spokesperson of the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee, told ESPN that organizers are paying close attention to weather forecasts.

"Unlike an earthquake, we're able to predict the path of a typhoon so we can make plans, and indeed when it comes to rowing, as a preventative measure, we have decided to change the schedule for the event," Masa said. "Changing the schedule is not a rare event, and we understand the burden it'll have on athletes."

Christophe Dubi, sports director for the International Olympic Committee, told ESPN that the Japanese Meteorological Agency is well-equipped to foresee inclement weather."

"We've made the decision a few days before the rowing. This is anticipated, which is a good thing as it's not that day, or that minute, where we have to make the call," Dubi said. "So this is a comfortable environment for us to be in."

Contact News Now Reporter Christine Fernando at cfernando@usatoday.com or follow her on Twitter at @christinetfern.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Tokyo Olympics brace for Tropical Storm Nepartak, preemptively shift rowing schedule

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