Hurricane Isaac 2012 and GOP convention

The approach of Hurricane Isaac is having more of an impact on the Republican National Convention here than just the postponement of most of the gathering’s first day.
Buried under the avalanche of concern and attention directed at the storm is the ongoing controversy surrounding Missouri congressman Todd Akin and his comments about rape victims that threatened to dominate the convention’s early going.
Suddenly, the hurricane and worries about storm surges and wind gusts have supplanted Akin as the top news of the moment.
“The whole story here today is the hurricane, the (convention) postponement” – said Ari Fleischer, press secretary to former President George W. Bush.
Republican Cathy Nugent (who’s assisting the Kansas delegation in Tampa) said the weather is focusing attention “back on the Republican Party” and its plans for creating jobs.
The focus is on that, and how delegates are going to spend their time today as the storm rages off-shore in the Gulf of Mexico. Heavy rains, isolated thunderstorms and gusting winds are forecast for today.

Hurricane Isaac 2012 and GOP convention
Hurricane Isaac 2012.

Tropical Storm Isaac barely stirred Florida Keys residents from their fabled nonchalance Sunday, while the Gulf Coast braced for the possibility that the sprawling storm will strengthen into a dangerous hurricane by the time it makes landfall there.
It was on course to strike land on the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, a powerful storm that crippled New Orleans and the Gulf Coast and became a symbol of government ineptitude. Forecasters expected Isaac to pass the Keys late Sunday before turning northwest and striking Wednesday as a Category 2 hurricane somewhere between New Orleans and the Florida Panhandle.
The National Hurricane Center issued a hurricane warning for a large swath of the northern Gulf Coast from east of Morgan City, La. (which includes the New Orleans area) to Destin, Fla. A Category 2 hurricane has sustained winds of between 96 and 110 mph.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal called a state of emergency, and officials in St. Charles Parish near New Orleans told its 53.000 residents to leave ahead of the storm. Jindal also said he may skip a speaking engagement later this week at the Republican National Convention in Tampa unless the threat to his state subsides. Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley also has canceled his trip to the convention.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott said at a news conference Sunday evening that only minor damage was reported from Isaac.

For now, the storm is closing in on the Lesser Antilles, and forecasters expect that it will become a hurricane Thursday. Some of their models are predicting a hurricane path that could run through Florida early next week, but forecasters won’t know for a few days.
“There is still way too much uncertainty right now, and it’s too early to know what effect it could have in the U.S. and in Florida. It depends on how much time it spends on land in Cuba. We don’t know what kind of shape it will be in by the time it clears those islands” – said Dennis Feltgen, spokesman for the National Hurricane Center in Miami.
“There is no immediate threat to the U.S. at all, but it is a concern, and we would urge folks to pay attention to this thing” – Feltgen said. “Check in over the next few days, and if you don’t have a hurricane plan and pack in place, you might want to start doing that.”
In 2008, Hurricane Gustav (which hit the Louisiana coast) forced RNC planners to cancel some events at their convention in Minneapolis, including a speech from President George W. Bush, who had drawn criticism for his handling of Hurricane Katrina, which swamped New Orleans in 2005.

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