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Tropical Storm Isaac, RNC on a possible collision course

August 23, 2012|By Rene Lynch

Tropical Storm Isaac's outreach is expected to be felt in Florida by late Sunday night -- just as Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan and the GOP faithful are gathering in Tampa for the Republican National Convention.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott says he will leave it up to Republican Party officials to decide whether to call off or delay the gathering in the face of a growing threat from Tropical Storm Isaac, according to the Associated Press.

Just five days away from the start of Monday's convention, the weather predictions are far less certain than whom the Republicans will nominate to as their presidential candidate.

MAP: Isaac's projected path

Predictions for Isaac's effects run the gamut as the storm's ultimate path won't be known for several more days. But the scenario appears to be worsening, according to the National Weather Service. Just Wednesday, the service predicted partly sunny skies and a 40% chance of rain for Monday.

On Thursday, the NWS was predicting "tropical storm conditions" for Sunday night and Monday, with winds as high as 45 miles per hour, rain and likely thunderstorms.

Meteorologists are watching two key factors with Isaac to better predict the storm's severity.

Isaac is currently on track to rake its way over Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Cuba. The mountainous terrain could weaken the storm, according to Accuweather.com. But there is also the potential -- emphasis on the word "potential" -- for the storm to regain momentum and barrel toward the U.S., with Florida in its cross-hairs.

But as Isaac moves closer to the U.S., what path will it take?

Typically, storms veer to the left or the right as they plow into the Florida peninsula. The path is critical, according to Accuweather.com, because it will determine whether the storm tracks directly over Florida, drives into the Atlantic waters east of Florida or pushes toward the Gulf of Mexico. With each path comes a dramatically different weather scenario, making forecasting especially difficult.

The Florida governor has aknowledged as much. Scott says that no one yet knows exactly how the storm will affect Florida, and especially the low-lying area near the water in downtown Tampa, where the convention is being held, according to the Associated Press.

The wire service reported that Scott said RNC officials would be in constant contact with state, local and federal officials to make sure that they had  the latest information on the storm.

The governor is urging state residents to make sure they have 72 hours' worth of supplies on hand, in case the worst-case scenario does indeed come to pass.

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rene.lynch@latimes.com

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