Isaac Could Become Category 2 Hurricane
With winds currently topping out at 65 mph, Isaac brushed through Cuba with strong winds and poured rain on the island nation early Sunday. Heavy rains were falling in areas of south Florida and a tornado watch is in effect until 5 p.m. ET.
Although it appears Tampa, site of the 2012 Republican National Convention, will escape the brunt of the weather, forecasters predict the city could still see flooding in low-lying areas like the Tampa Convention Center, which will host members of the media during the nomination event.
"The storm is moving a little bit west" and the Tampa area likely won't take a direct hit, Florida Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, said in USA Today. "I'm sure we're going to have a great convention."
Isaac is forecast to pass over the southern part of the Florida Keys later this afternoon as a high-end tropical storm, according to the Washington Post. The storm is expected to make landfall again on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi and Alabama on Wednesday, the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.
Isaac could be a Category 2 storm with winds reaching at least 96 mph once it arrives on land, CNN reported. The hurricane center said areas of Louisiana, including New Orleans, are under a hurricane watch.
Delegates started arriving in Tampa on Sunday morning, as the GOP promised to release a revised convention schedule leading up to Mitt Romney’s formal acceptance of the presidential nomination, one day after canceling Monday’s events due to safety concerns.
From the New York Times:
Before the storm’s arrival, many of Sunday’s events in Tampa continued as planned. Organizers said a welcoming party at the Tropicana Field on Sunday night would go ahead, though with extra tents. A rally with Representative Ron Paul of Texas would take place as scheduled, as would events by the former presidential hopefuls Representative Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain, a former pizza executive. A local Florida Republican committee said it would continue to honor Donald Trump, the real estate mogul and reality show host, at a dinner.
The storm’s predicted arrival near New Orleans on Wednesday night could steer media attention away from some of the party’s major nomination activities, but GOP representatives said they still expect to get their point across.
“Obviously, we’re going to take it as it comes, we’re going to be nimble,” Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, said in the Times. “We have to fire Obama and save this country.”
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