As Tropical Storm Isaac barrels its way towards the Florida Keys, the Republican National Committee has decided to cancel most of their convention program for Monday in Tampa Bay. South Florida is already beginning to feel the storm′s wrath with power outages around Miami. The National Hurricane Center expects to upgrade Hurricane Isaac to a Category 1 storm sometime late Sunday or overnight Monday as it enters the Gulf of Mexico. While Tampa is no longer in apparent danger of a direct hit, the sheer size of Isaac, some 400 miles wide, means that the west coast of Florida will be pummeled by gale force winds and heavy rain squalls which could cause local flooding. Gov. Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency in Florida and all emergency services are making themselves ready. So, as a precaution, the RNC will recess the convention immediately after it opens on Monday, reconvening sometime Tuesday afternoon.

tropical storm issac

Isaac did make landfall over Haiti, dumping 10-plus inches of rain, which caused flooding and mudslides. Three people were killed due to Isaac in Haiti. Early models taking the storm over Cuba proved to be in error as Isaac skirted the northwestern coast, remaining over water. The latest predictions of the storm track for Isaac shows it going more westward. By Tuesday evening, Hurricane Isaac could strengthen to a Category 2, or even a 3, as it makes landfall somewhere between Pensacola and New Orleans by Wednesday morning. The area between the Florida Panhandle to the Alabama-Mississippi border seems the most likely point for landfall as of now.

The RNC is expected to release an updated schedule of events and speakers Sunday afternoon. There is some talk about possibly even canceling some, or all, of the convention on Tuesday out of respect for those facing Isaac. You will recall that in 2008, the RNC Presidential Convention held in Minneapolis. Minnesota canceled one day while Hurricane Gustav ravaged the Gulf Coast.