An area of low pressure about 1,000 miles east of the Lesser Antilles moves… (NOAA via Getty Images )
There's a storm brewing around the Republican National Convention as it prepares to convene in Tampa next week -- and it has nothing to do with politics.
Tropical Depression Isaac is heading Florida's way, and there's a chance that it could swell to a hurricane before it gets there. Or, there's a chance the weather will be rainy around Tampa -- or nice, warm and partly sunny.
"It's too early to say, 'Oh my gosh, it's going to be a disaster,'" said Dan Kottlowski, expert senior meteorologist with AccuWeather Forecast. "But certainly, it is a concern."
He told the Los Angeles Times that he expects the storm to reach hurricane strength as it passes through some parts of the Caribbean, and then will probably dissipate.
The question, he said, is whether it will regain strength as it moves closer to the U.S., which is why experts will be watching the storm's path closely over the next several days. "You could come up with dozens of scenarios as to where this thing could go in terms of strength. There's a lot of uncertainty."
That's clear from looking at the various forecasts out there.
The National Weather Service's seven-day forecast predicts scattered showers and thunderstorms through the weekend. By Monday, the scenario is brighter: "Scattered showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 89. Chance of precipitation is 30%," according to the NWS.
But the National Hurricane Center's projected five-day forecast is still causing some early concern, although predictions for potential Florida impact are too far off. Republican National Convention spokesman James Davis was quoted in USA Today as saying officials have already begun coordination efforts with state and local emergency officials so that they will be prepared in case a severe storm hits.
The convention gets underway Monday and runs through Thursday, and will be attended by several thousand people. Many are already on their way -- or about to be.
Those travel plans could place many conventioneers in the path of the oncoming storm.
AccuWeather.com Hurricane Center's meteorologists summed up the range of possibilities as well in their latest weather alert. A small storm could simply cause rain, wind and minor travel delays, it said. And if Isaac takes a wicked turn for the worse, it could bring with it downed trees and power outages -- although they are likely to be "hundreds of miles away from the center."
Or, best of all: If the storm tracks off the East Coast, those in Tampa will enjoy sunshine and breezy conditions, according to AccuWeather.
Only Mother Nature knows for sure, but it won't hurt to pack an umbrella.
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