Hurricane weeks before GOP convention could still impact event | News
Tampa, Florida -- While much of the discussion about a hurricane disrupting the Republican National Convention has focused on the possibility of a storm striking during the event, a major hurricane hitting Tampa weeks before could still cause problems.
The convention is slated to start on August 27th in Tampa, but the party's platform hearing begins the week prior which makes the window for a strike even bigger.
But if a category 3 hurricane were to hit even earlier, like around Aug. 6th, a full three weeks before the official start of the convention there's the real possibility things would not be back to normal by the end of the month.
Bridges and roads damaged by a hurricane could still be closed, the area's drinking water supply could still be impacted, even power may not be restored everywhere.
"Now in terms of the RNC it's not up to Hillsborough County obviously if it continues on or stops or what have you, we're going to attempt to recover as quickly as possible depending on what the true impacts of that storm are," noted Hillsborough County Emergency Management Director Preston Cook.
But even if Tampa is spared being struck by a major hurricane in August, if one hits another part of the country during the convention the event could still be disrupted.
In 2008, events at the GOP convention in St. Paul, Minnesota were impacted because of Hurricane Gustav, which was headed for Louisiana. Opening day speeches by President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman and others were canceled as attention was shifted to what was happening on the Gulf coast.
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, who was scheduled to deliver a prime time speech during the convention, skipped the event altogether.
"Ultimately we got what we needed to get done, we were most concerned about the people that might be impacted in the Gulf," said current convention Communications Director James Davis about the decisions made in 2008.
"It's all about being flexible and knowing how to handle situations like that," Davis added.