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Tropical Storm Isaac Looms Over GOP Convention


It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Laura Sullivan.

In Tampa, Republicans are closely watching the weather. Tropical Storm Isaac has barreled across the Caribbean and is headed into the Gulf of Mexico. The storm is expected to pass by Tampa tomorrow, bringing heavy rain and wind. Monday also marks the day the GOP convention was supposed to start, but organizers decided it was safer to cancel the first day of events.

NPR's Jeff Brady is in Tampa, and he's been monitoring preparations for both the convention and the storm. Jeff, what's the latest?

JEFF BRADY, BYLINE: Well, forecasters are saying that this storm is expected to pass well west of Tampa, out in the Gulf of Mexico on Monday. Florida Governor Rick Scott says delegates have been given information on how to prepare. He says the wind is the big concern, and not really the sustained wind, but the kind of gusts you can get in a storm that the visitors here may not be used to. Tampa's police chief, Jane Castor, says the way things look now, the weather shouldn't prohibit anyone from being out on the street, though.

SULLIVAN: How does canceling Monday's events affect the convention?

BRADY: Well, now, organizers have to try and cram four days of events into three. So there's a lot of shuffling going on. But for most people watching the convention, not much of a change. The networks weren't going to air Monday night's events anyway. And convention organizers say, you know, they really have to make safety a big priority here. There are about 70,000 visitors in Tampa now. You can imagine all the problems with transportation that might have come if they'd gone ahead with Monday's events as that storm was passing by.

SULLIVAN: While the start of the convention is delayed a day, are there some events that are taking place anyway? I understand Congressman Ron Paul is holding a rally.

BRADY: Yeah. He's speaking at the University of South Florida's Sun Dome. Looks like a pretty large crowd. And there are other events happening all over town, lots of different interest groups and other candidates holding parties and seminars. Despite the storm, people are trying to go ahead with as much of their convention events as they can.

SULLIVAN: NPR's Jeff Brady from Tampa. Thanks, Jeff.

BRADY: Thank you, Laura. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.