Hurricane Could Threaten GOP Convention
Isaac gaining strength, may hit Tampa
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 22, 2012 4:51 AM CDT
Updated Aug 22, 2012 7:58 AM CDT
A worker begins installing banners for the Republican National Convention in front of the Tampa Bay Times Forum.   (AP Photo/The Tampa Bay Times, Edmund D. Fountain)
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(Newser) – A tropical storm is threatening to upend the Republican National Convention for the second election in a row. Tropical Storm Isaac is picking up strength in the Atlantic, and forecasters believe it will become a hurricane in the next few days, AP reports. The convention begins Monday, and some models predict the storm could hit Florida as soon as Sunday morning, although there hasn't been a direct hit on the Tampa area from a major hurricane for 90 years and it would take a "perfect storm" of conditions for one to happen this time. In 2008, Hurricane Gustav forced RNC speakers including George W. Bush to cancel.

An RNC official says the party has been in close contact with federal, state, and local officials, and contingency plans are in place. Some 70,000 delegates, party officials, and journalists are expected to attend the convention, but since they have already arranged their transport, Florida's emergency management director says they won't be his first priority. "If this storm comes ashore, dealing with the delegates that are here, dealing with the reporters, is going to be one of my lesser concerns," he says. "They're going to be a small percentage of the population we're worried about. I'm going to be dealing with the million-plus people who don't have access to those resources."