- THE MAGAZINE
Florida residents are preparing for the arrival of Isaac, the tropical storm that has already led to the delay of the Republican National Convention.
GOP representatives released an updated schedule for the conference on Sunday, Aug. 26, 2012, accounting for the cancellation of Monday’s opening day. While the storm is not predicted to hit the Tampa Bay area where the convention is being held, the Republican Party has chosen to err on the side of safety. Florida Gov. Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency, but explained it as standard procedure as the state braces for possible disasters.
“Currently Isaac is a tropical storm that’s expected to become a hurricane as it reaches Key West… then it will move into the Gulf of Mexico and is expected to strengthen further,” said Meteorologist Jessica Schauer with the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami. “Definitely the northern Gulf Coast should be preparing for a hurricane right now.”
Isaac is expecting to reach Category 2 hurricane status, with winds ranging between 96 and 110 miles per hour. A number of Florida’s ports, including the Port of Miami, Port Everglades and the Port of Palm Beach shutdown as a part of preparations on Sunday. Palm Beach County opened up three population shelters on Sunday morning as well. The storm struck land in Cuba on Saturday, causing property damage. In Haiti, four were reported dead as Isaac passed through.
Tropical Storm Isaac, the ninth named storm of the 2012 Atlantic Hurricane Season, passed just south of the Florida Keys on Sunday and is headed toward the Gulf of Mexico, causing port closures and prompting some ships to stay at sea and delay the departure of subsequent sailings. The storm is now about 60 miles southwest of Key West and about 530 miles southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River. Isaac is likely to be at or near hurricane status when it reaches the Gulf of Mexico on Monday.
According to the National Hurricane Center's outlook, maximum sustained wind speeds have increased to 65 miles per hour, and the storm is moving west-northwest at about 15 m.p.h. So far, the storm has forced several itinerary changes.