A tropical storm that has caught the attention of Olympic organizers could make landfall near Tokyo on Tuesday, forecasts showed Sunday, with the Meteorological Agency warning of heavy rain, strong winds and high waves.
While not expected to strengthen into a typhoon, Tropical Storm Nepartak could impact a wide area, with the forecast showing a possible Tuesday landfall in the Kanto area, including Tokyo, or the Tohoku region, further north.
Some Olympic rowing events set for early this week have already been rescheduled ahead of the storm’s arrival.
As of Sunday afternoon, Nepartak was moving north at about 15 kph near Minamitori Island, about 1,800 km southeast of Tokyo, the Meteorological Agency said. The storm was packing gusts of up to 108 kph.
On Tuesday, the storm could bring gusts of up to 126 kph with rainfall of up to 150 millimeters projected for the Kanto-Koshin region including Tokyo in the 24 hours through Tuesday morning.
The agency has classified the storm as “large” for the wide area it covers, but it lacks the strength to be considered a typhoon, a level on par with a hurricane.
While Nepartak may strengthen slightly as it nears Japan, any landfall would likely come as a tropical storm, said typhoon expert Robert Speta.
“I think from Chiba to Ibaraki we could see gusts over 60 kph,” Speta said based on Sunday forecast data. “Tokyo will likely miss the worst of these conditions based on today’s forecast though.”
On Saturday, Olympic organizers said they were closely following the track of the storm.
Typhoons regularly hit Japan, although landfalls in the Tokyo area are more frequent in the latter part of the summer and into early fall. Speta said a landfall of even a tropical storm at this time of year would be “very uncommon.”
“By the time storms get that far north they typically are being picked up by the jet stream and being sheered and then thrusted north and west as they go extratropical,” Speta said. “It is very rare for a storm to track north and then turn west toward central and northern Honshu this time of year. But since there is a deep upper level ridge over Japan right now its pushing the jet stream north, so Nepartak can avoid it’s influence.”
Information from Kyodo added
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