Forecast: Hurricane to menace Republican National Convention in Florida

By Stephen C. Webster
Wednesday, August 22, 2012 9:13 EDT
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A hurricane photographed from space. Photo: Shutterstock.com, all rights reserved.
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A tropical storm nearing the Gulf of Mexico is expected to turn into a Category 1 or 2 hurricane ahead of making an anticipated landfall in Florida on Monday, just in time for the first day of the Republican National Convention (RNC) in Tampa.

A National Weather Service chart published Wednesday morning showing the probable path of the storm based on still imperfect computer modeling puts the outer-bands of Isaac over Tampa as of Monday morning, with the full storm moving in that afternoon.

“We can say at this point that there is the potential for periods of heavy rain, severe thunderstorms, gusty winds, flooding, rough surf and heavy seas as Isaac turns to the north and moves near or over Florida spanning Monday into Wednesday,” an AccuWeather.com media advisory warned.

“At present forward speed (approximately 20 mph), the greatest impact in the Tampa area is likely to occur Monday afternoon into Tuesday with conditions potentially deteriorating during Sunday night, depending on the nature of spiral bands preceding the system.”

Should Isaac become a hurricane by then, even if it’s just a Category 1 or 2 storm, it would bring torrential rains, damaging winds that down trees and power lines, potential electricity failure, hundreds of canceled flights and likely more troubling effects. AccuWeather said that a “worst case scenario” would see the hurricane linger in the Gulf briefly before turning northward late Monday or early Tuesday, potentially as a much more powerful storm that completely disrupts the RNC and causes significant damage.

Scientists said last year that the links between global climate change and hurricanes are “compelling” and that human activity is contributing to increasing frequency of damaging storms, modeled to become much more common by 2100 if trends in industrial emissions aren’t reversed. Republicans, by and large, have elected leaders who mostly disbelieve the science of climate change.

Republican Party officials claim to have a contingency plan, but much like the details of their presumptive presidential nominee’s tax returns, they haven’t made a peep yet as to what it might be.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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