Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)



News on the Aug. 27-30 convention

RNC hurricane forecast: not likely

TAMPA — Weather Underground co-founder Jeff Masters says "early signs point to a hurricane-free" convention.

Writing at, Masters notes there have been two mass evacuations of Tampa in recent decades during the peak hurricane season of August, September and October. One was for Hurricane Elena in 1985. The other was for Hurricane Charley in 2004.

So he said history suggests that the odds of a mass evacuation Aug. 27-30 "are probably around 0.2 percent."

"Any tropical waves which might develop into hurricanes that could hit Tampa during the convention would have to come off the coast of Africa next week," writes Masters, who flew with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's hurricane hunters from 1986 to 1990.

Looking at the latest 16-day global forecast, Masters notes that "all of the tropical waves coming off of Africa next week are predicted to exit too far north to make the long crossing of the Atlantic and threaten the Gulf Coast."

"While something could develop in the Gulf of Mexico from the remains of an old cold front, it is rare for such storms to grow strong enough to deserve mass evacuations," he says.

Feisty Chris Christie to give keynote address

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a favorite of GOP fiscal conservatives and people who enjoy verbal fireworks, will give the keynote address at the Republican National Convention.

Christie told USA Today that he's already "grinding away" on the fourth draft of his 20-minute speech, which he said would focus more on the case for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney than on the one against President Barack Obama.

"I'll try to tell some very direct and hard truths to people in the country about the trouble that we're in and the fact that fixing those problems is not going to be easy for any of them," said Christie, a former federal prosecutor known for his take-no-prisoners style of debate.

Like Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Christie was mentioned as a possible running mate for Romney. Like Rubio, he sometimes seemed warm to the idea. And like Rubio, who will introduce Romney on the last night of the RNC, Christie generally is seen as too good a speaker not to get a prime speaking role at the convention.

"He is a leader of principle and conviction," Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus said in announcing his selection as the keynote speaker, "and I am excited to hear him."

Convention releases session times

Except for its first day, the RNC will be a nighttime event, running from 7:30 to 11 p.m. Aug. 28-30, according to a schedule released Tuesday night. On Monday, Aug. 27, sessions will run from 2 to 11 p.m., meaning that on that day traffic congestion in downtown Tampa will be more of an all-day challenge.

Town hall meeting draws big crowd

Plan ahead, build in extra time, use the detours and be patient. That's the advice an overflow crowd at the Florida Aquarium got Tuesday night at the first of three city of Tampa town hall meetings on the impact of the RNC.

And the questions? Submitted on note cards, they generally were more curious than angry, ranging from how will my petsitter get onto Harbour Island to what happens if all the protesters sue and exhaust the city's liability insurance.

"We'll be fine," Mayor Bob Buckhorn said with characteristic confidence. Two more town hall meetings are scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. today at the Tampa campus of Stetson University College of Law and Thursday at the Kate Jackson Community Center in Hyde Park.

Free RNC pedal buses called 'just plain fun'

They're not the 1,000 bikes offered at previous conventions, but the 20 pedal buses that Humana plans to roll out for the RNC drew praise during a preview Tuesday at the Tampa Convention Center.

"It's just plain fun," said Jan Larimer, co-chairman of the Committee on Arrangements for the RNC.

From Aug. 26 to Aug. 30, the stainless steel pedal buses will be made available free at four stops: Curtis Hixon Park, the Franklin Exchange Building on N Franklin Street, Ybor City on 14th Street, and the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts. They'll be available from noon to 7 p.m. Manufactured in St. Louis, the pedal buses were made specifically for the conventions.

"Whether it's a pedal bus, bicycle, hand-cycle or unicycle, pedaling is healthy for the body, the mind and the environment," said Dr. Scott Latimer, a market president for Humana.

Last month, cycling advocates lamented the decision by Humana to ditch the bicycles this year in favor of the buses. Company officials acknowledged the decision was partly made because of how downtown lacks many amenities for bikes.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said this area needs to do a better job in accommodating bikes, but said he intends to enjoy the pedal buses.

"I'm going to trade that black SUV we got from the pimp and make this the new mayor-mobile," Buckhorn joked.

Times staff writer Michael Van Sickler contributed to this report. Richard Danielson can be reached at

RNC hurricane forecast: not likely 08/14/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 14, 2012 11:41pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Pro Bowl returning to Orlando in 2018


    ORLANDO — The Pro Bowl will return to Orlando in 2018 for the second straight year.

    Bucs  wide receiver Mike Evans runs a route as Denver Broncos cornerback Chris Harris Jr. defends during the first quarter of the AFC-NFC Pro Bowl in January at Camping World Stadium in Orlando. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  2. Plan your weekend: Memorial Day, Sunset Music Fest, comic Pablo Francisco, sci-fi writer Jeff VanderMeer


    Plan your weekend


    Memorial Day: Monday is the day to honor those who died serving their country, and the Bay Pines VA Memorial Day Ceremony will have Fox 13 anchor Alcides Segui as emcee, U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and musical performances starting at 10 a.m. at 10000 Bay Pines Blvd., St. …

    GULF SHORES, AL - MAY 20:  Diplo of Major Lazer performs at the Surf Stage during 2017 Hangout Music Festival on May 20, 2017 in Gulf Shores, Alabama.  (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for Hangout Music Festival) 700050769
  3. For starters: Rays looking for runs and a win

    Erasmo Ramirez makes his third start of the season.
  4. United Airlines CEO to investors: We'll be more focused on customers


    CHICAGO — The CEO of United Airlines assured shareholders Wednesday that the company is doing all it can to be more customer-friendly since video surfaced of a passenger being violently ejected from a plane last month.

    Chicago Police arrest protesters after they sat down in a busy street blocking traffic outside a United Airlines shareholders meeting Wednesday, in downtown Chicago. The people who were arrested were protesting the low pay of employees of companies that provide meals and other services for United Airlines at Chicago's O'Hare Airport.
[Associated Press]
  5. 6 essential things you'll need before going to a theme park this summer


    With Memorial Day weekend as the unofficial start of summer, we're back with a new a guide to what's new or noteworthy in Central Florida attractions.