National Hurricane Center: Hurricane Isaac Could Crash RNC on Monday

Tropical Storm Isaac left the coast of Haiti on a path toward Cuba and the Florida Keys, where it is forecast to arrive tomorrow at hurricane strength, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said according to Bloomberg Businessweek.

Dark clouds are approaching the Republican National Convention due to start this Monday from Tampa, Florida, as the Sunshine State’s Keys and parts of its southern west coast were put under a hurricane warning today – according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center.  

Isaac, which – starting on Monday – may threaten the RNC’s roll call for presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, had maximum sustained winds of 60 miles per hour (95 kilometers per hour), and was moving northwest at 14 mph.

A hurricane watch was posted for all of the Florida Keys, Florida Bay, the state’s west coast from Bonita Beach southward and the east coast from Golden Beach southward; while energy companies, such as BP began, suspending crude and gas operations in the Gulf region.

Heavy rains at best, and a hurricane at worst, threaten to disrupt the opening day of the RNC, as more than 50,000 people are expected to visit the Tampa Bay area next week as Republicans hold their meeting. According to The Tampa Bay Times Forum, the site of the gathering is in a mandatory-evacuation zone once storms reach 96 mph (Category 2 on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale).

However, Florida Governor Rick Scott said yesterday at a news briefing in the state capital, Tallahassee, that Isaac wouldn’t cause delays at the convention. Few delegates had canceled, he said. Scott is scheduled to deliver a speech to the convention on Aug. 27.

Vice President Joe Biden canceled a plan to visit Tampa during the convention on Aug. 27 because of concern that the trip may disrupt disaster planning.