The Republican National Convention begins next Monday in Tampa, Florida. It was a calculated gamble to place the RNC in Florida during hurricane season. Florida has been a key swing state in every presidential election this century, so the additional enthusiasm it provides can give the campaign the impetus it would need to win the Sunshine State. However, weather in the Gulf region during the summer is always tricky.
Tampa is a particularly problematic locale since it is rated as the city most likely to be vulnerable to a hurricane. However, the likelihood of one hitting any place at a certain time is always low, even in the height of hurricane season. But it turns out that, right now, a tropical storm is threatening Cuba and is likely to eventually threaten Florida. Currently, this storm, Tropical Depression 9, is southeast of Cuba and is steadily moving toward the island nation. It is expected that it will hit Cuba on Sunday with wind speeds then of about 100 miles per hour.
But that is when the computer models diverge. One model expects a direct hit on west central Florida, which would obviously impact Tampa. Another model shows the storm going up the eastern Florida coast, which would bring heavy rains to Tampa, but no extensive damage. Other models predict that the storm will move into the Atlantic Ocean after it hits Cuba, which would obviously reduce the damage.
If it hits Florida next week, it could cause major problems for the GOP. It would be difficult to move the convention at this late date, since plans have already been made. Besides, until the hurricane actually strikes, nobody knows where it will hit land and how much damage it will cause. A few hours before Katrina, it was predicted that it would directly strike New Orleans. Then, it shifted eastward and eventually directly struck 40 or 50 miles to the east. That is why the problems in NOLA were caused by flooding, rather than winds.
If it would directly strike any part of Florida, it could cause a problem. Since Floridians would expect assistance. It’s likely that some attendees will call for aid; others would take more of a laissez faire approach.