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Isaac Turns Toward New Orleans, RNC Cancels Day 1

Isaac Turns Toward New Orleans, RNC Cancels Day 1

Tropical Storm Isaac didn’t make a direct hit on Tampa, but Republicans were forced to cancel the first day of their convention anyhow. Now, the storm could be on track to strike New Orleans on the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

While the storm turned west into the gulf, Tampa was still lashed with heavy rain and 40 mph winds, forcing Republican National Convention organizers to cancel activities scheduled for the first day of the convention. This marked the second straight GOP convention to lose a day to a tropical storm; organizers canceled the first day of activities in 2008 out of concerns that convention festivities would seem out-of-step with the landfall of Hurricane Gustav.

“The reason why we ultimately ended up making this decision was for the safety of our delegates and guests,” said RNC chair Reince Priebus in an interview with CNN. “We couldn’t really be assured of total safety over all the bridges over open water with sustained winds. The Secret Service took tents outside down and understandably so, but what that meant was fewer entrances into the building and people standing outside for a long time in the driving rain and wind.”

Republicans dismissed concerns that shortening the convention could hamper their ability to use the four-day event to make the case for Mitt Romney.

“We will absolutely be able to get our message out,” said Russ Schriefer, a senior strategist for the Romney campaign.

New Orleans in Isaac’s Sights

Isaac, meanwhile, moved along a northwesterly track that currently would lead to a Wednesday landfall in New Orleans as a Category 1 or 2 hurricane. The storm would come aground on the seventh anniversary of landfall of the disastrous Hurricane Katrina.

While Isaac is not projected to be as strong as Katrina, the storm could still do serious damage in a city still recovering from a storm that killed 1,833 people and did $108 billion in damage.

Isaac is forecast to strengthen into a Category 1 hurricane by early Tuesday morning. Computer models suggest the storm could be anywhere between a Category 1 and a weak Category 3 at landfall. Nevertheless, Isaac is a very large storm, and could still bring a significant storm surge to the Gulf Coast.

Isaac is currently about 360 miles southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River, moving west-northwest at 14 miles per hour. The storm has sustained winds of 55 mph and gusts up to 65 mph.

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Image Credit: NOAA

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11:01PM PDT on Aug 28, 2012

Just watching a webcam on Bourbon St. I can see the wind and rain. It must be getting really scary down there. I hope everyone prepared enough, and the city is prepared enough. Hope it isn't destructive. For what it's worth, NOLA, everyone is thinking about you!

9:28PM PDT on Aug 28, 2012

Hopefully it will not be as devastating as Katrina. My thoughts are with them.

4:48PM PDT on Aug 28, 2012

Notice how the republicans are not saying this hurricane is an "act of god" telling them their convention is "against gods will" and perhaps their punishment for being a$$holes ?!?!?!?! Every other significant weather event "means" something like this but it seems this one is being ignored.

4:12PM PDT on Aug 28, 2012

Thanks Jeff for the article and now that Isaac has been upgraded to a level 1 hurricane my thoughts are with the people of New Orleans.

2:24PM PDT on Aug 28, 2012

@ Rose L. It is certainly a disappointment that the Repug convention was spared. However there is no problem finding SOMEthing to blame the Republicans for. The problem is deciding which something. Maybe we’ll get a repeat of the Bush administration‘s failure to provide aid before several overseas foreign countries had aid on site.

11:57AM PDT on Aug 28, 2012

Too bad the hurricane didn't cancel the whole republican convention.

11:40AM PDT on Aug 28, 2012

Thanks for the article. Hope everyone manages to stay safe.

8:33AM PDT on Aug 28, 2012

Damn Hurricane. Skipped the covention (it should have picked up the whole republican convention up and dumped it into the Gulf). Now its aimed at innocent people. Thats what happens when you name a hurricane after a man. It cant do anything right.

8:13AM PDT on Aug 28, 2012

My thoughts are with ALL people affected by Isaac - Democrat & Republican. Mother Nature is really ticked off and we all need to listen, regardless of our party affiliation.

7:47AM PDT on Aug 28, 2012

The poor people of New Orleans! I hope they will be alright.

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