Republican officials remain optimistic Thursday with plans to hold the Republican National Convention on Monday, despite the approach of hurricane Isaac and threat of winds strong enough to break windows and down trees.
Tropical storm Isaac, which is approaching hurricane strength, is expected to move into the Gulf Coast early next week, just as about 50,000 Republican delegates, journalists and protesters pour into Tampa.
And while Isaac looks to be heading farther west of Tampa on weather maps, the city could still see heavy rains, flooding, and hurricane-force winds of 75 mph or greater–– strong enough to break windows, down trees and damage roofs, ABC meteorologist Max Golembo said.
"It will be a dangerous situation," Golembo added. "It's somewhere between the galoshes and Noah's Ark."
But Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn expects the show to go on.
"We're in full RNC mode and focused on putting a great show for the convention," Buckhorn said, according to The Tampa Tribune. "We are not anticipating having to make the decision" of canceling the GOP convention.
And delegates such as Toni Jarms, a delegate from Oregon, are similarly optimistic, saying the threat of hurricane Isaac hasn't changed her mind about coming to Tampa.
"We have definitely not changed our plans for attending the convention," said Jarms, 65. "We are confident that the weather will not have a dampening effect."
This confidence may come in part from the Convention organizers' close monitoring of Isaac's progress. "The convention is working closely with our partners at the federal, state and local levels," James Davis, director of communications for the convention told The Wall Street Journal. "We have contingency plans in place to ensure the health and safety" of attendees and local residents. As to what those contingency plans are, no one is talking.
"The state's prepared," Florida Gov. Rick Scott said Thursday, The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported. "We've gone through hurricanes."
Indeed, as The Tampa Tribune explains, the GOP has faced this situation before. In 2008, Hurricane Gustav slammed into Louisiana just as the convention in St. Paul., Minn., was getting under way. The Category 2 storm led Republicans to cancel opening-day events.