The Republican National Convention is scheduled for Tampa, Florida starting on August 27.
The current hurricane wind tracking map shows a possible Cat 1 hurricane on Monday hitting the eastern Gulf of Mexico.
At this point in time, the storm is south of Cuba and might be headed easternly. However, the tracking maps generally show hurricane tracks to the north over or near Cuba and into the Florida Keys.
Florida is starting preparation for Isaac's landfall in 4-5 days.
The question is the strengthening of the storm and the organization of the storm. The storm has not been well organized today and max winds are at 45 mph. Hurricane winds are 75 mph or higher. However, I would point out that the existing track puts the hurricane over warm water with feeder arms that will pick up moisture over the next 48 hours.
For the sake of the people in the Keys and Tampa/StPete, I'm certainly praying for the best. The storm does not look particularly organized right now.
But, this track pattern is starting to make me remember Cat 4 and Cat 5 level 'canes that have hit the gulf coast in the past. These hurricanes got organized in this same region of the Carribean and then tracked into the gulf.
Having a storm track into the northern side of Tampa Bay would sweep substantial amounts of storm surge into the RNC convention. Anyone remember Hurricane Charley in August of 2004?
There are already some people talking about who pulls the plug on the convention but the RNC chair is saying that it's all going forward. I'm sure he is saying that. He is probably the guy who's going to lose out big by having Isaac crash his party.
"Mayor Bob Buckhorn has authority to evacuate the convention's waterfront location, Gov. Rick Scott has the final say on whether the convention goes forward, according to state officials. His office is working closely with Buckhorn and Republican National Convention planners to decide how, when and whether to pull the plug on the convention should Isaac hit the Tampa area next week. "There's lots of options," said Bryan Koon, the state's emergency management director. "The best worst-case scenario would be a Category 1 storm that moves quickly."
Obviously, the worse case scenario would be a hurricane that stays off the Florida gulf coast slowly gathering strength from Sunday night to Tuesday morning and then sweeps north easternly into the northern part of Tampa Bay. If the eye of the hurricane passes directly over the Bay and the northeastern eye wall was to bullseye on the convention site, the RNC would be flooded and literally blown away.
NOAA will not have effective 72 hour ground track predictions until Saturday night and Sunday morning for that time span. The farther out you are in the timeline, the harder it is to predict.
However, I would like to point out to my gulf coast readers that a low pressure system just passed over Northern California. That low pressure system is going to interact with a high pressure system that is over the four corners now. Depending upon how that high pressure system moves, it could push the low pressure hurricane to the east.