Tampa "Prepared" To Call Off GOP Convention If Isaac Hits

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Aug. 22 2012 12:03 PM

Tropical Storm Isaac Threatens GOP Convention

Isaac (left) reached tropical storm status and is approaching the Lesser Antilles islands as it moves westward on Aug. 22, 2012
Isaac (left) reached tropical storm status and is approaching the Lesser Antilles islands as it moves westward on Aug. 22, 2012

Photo by NOAA via Getty Images.

Tropical Storm Isaac is gaining strength as it approaches the Caribbean, with some guessing the storm could become a hurricane by tomorrow. As the Associated Press reports, a state of emergency has already been declared in Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba, and other islands in the region are likewise bracing for impact.

But with an estimated 15,000 journalists preparing to fly to Tampa, Fla., next week for the Republican National Convention, the big story is likely to be the biblically named storm's possible crashing of Mitt Romney's nomination party. According to this projected path by the NOAA, Isaac could hit the Tampa area early next week, just as the convention gets into full swing.

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Of course, this is the inexact science of weather forecasting we're talking about, so Isaac could still miss the RNC entirely. It's way too early to tell for sure. As chief meteorologist Jeff Masters of wunderground.com told the AP: "It would take a perfect storm of a scenario where a bunch of factors all conspire together ... but we definitely have to watch this one."

Given this is Florida at the end of August we're talking about, the RNC says it already has backup plans in place should the storm hit, and spokesperson Kyle Downey told CNN that they are "monitoring the situation very closely." Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, meanwhile, says he is "prepared to call it off" if it looks like Isaac will be a direct hit. "I mean, safety and human life trump politics," he said. "I think the RNC recognizes that. The organizers, certainly Gov. Romney, recognize that."

Abby Ohlheiser is a Slate contributor.

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