Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Threat of tropical storms gets national attention as RNC nears

It's late August in Florida. Sea surface temperatures are high. Weather experts just upped their hurricane predictions for the year.

And more than 50,000 people are en route to Tampa for the GOP's 2012 convention.

Did we mention it's hurricane season?

With an eye on a storm developing in the mid Atlantic Ocean just days before the convention, national news organizations, political pundits and forecasters Monday were holding forth on the prospect of a hurricane hitting Tampa.

Don't panic. It's way too soon to tell.

The system that has everyone concerned isn't even a tropical storm. It's a tropical wave nearly 1,000 miles away from the Lesser Antilles. It's expected to become a tropical depression within the next 48 hours and ultimately could grow into Isaac, the season's ninth named storm.

If conditions are right, the system could reach North America by early next week. When the Republican National Convention is in town.

Despite swirling speculations, experts said there's no clear or present threat to the United States, let alone Tampa Bay.

"There is a tremendous amount of uncertainty in the track and intensity forecasts of this storm," National Hurricane Center forecaster Michael Brennan said.

Where it will go?

"Long term, it could head straight west toward Mexico, it could curve into the gulf and threaten the U.S. there, or it could recurve east off the Atlantic coast of Florida," Brennan said. "There's such a wide range of possibilities."

Historically, 16 percent of storms positioned where the tropical wave was Monday go on to hit the United States, according to Jeff Masters, chief meteorologist for Weather Underground. Of those, he noted, most made their way to the East Coast, specifically North Carolina.

Convention organizers have said the Secret Service would evaluate and respond to any threats of inclement weather on a case-by-case basis.

Hillsborough County Emergency Management spokesman Willie Puz acknowledged the 50,000 additional people expected to pack the area during the convention would put "a new wrinkle in things," but wouldn't change the county's approach: Be prepared for anything.

"We plan and are prepared continuously, so just one storm being out there is not something that we have to worry about in particular," Puz said. "The RNC is ancillary to anything we do."

The storm everyone is talking about is one of four late Monday in the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea or Gulf of Mexico.

"When we're in the peak of the season, there can be tropical cyclones developing anywhere in the Atlantic basin, and they're usually stronger storms," Brennan said. "These things can develop anywhere, including close to where people live, without a lot of notice."

Hurricane experts, who had predicted nine to 12 storms when the season began in June, recently upped their predictions to expect anywhere from 12 to 17 named storms to form before the season ends in November. Of those, as many as eight could turn into hurricanes, with two or three major storms packing winds of at least 111 mph, officials said.

Marissa Lang can be reached at mlang@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8804.

Weather Underground Inc. | Updates on this storm

Threat of tropical storms gets national attention as RNC nears 08/20/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 21, 2012 8:38am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Florida education news: Solar eclipse, gender gap, new schools and more

    Blogs

    TOTAL ECLIPSE: More than 8,000 Hernando County students skip school after their school district gives them excused absences for the day. Students who …

    Students at Bayonet Point Middle School observe the solar eclipse Monday through their special eclipse glasses.
  2. Epilogue: Martin Giles a man of few, but strong, words for WFLA-AM 970

    Obituaries

    As the story goes, his higher-ups at the Misawa Air Base in Japan were clear with their edict to Martin Giles: It was only the mid-1950s, not far enough away from World War II for the Japanese to be trusted.

    Martin Giles, a longtime radio news anchor for WFLA-AM 970, died last week at the age of 80.
  3. Forecast: Minimal rain, for now, as hot temperatures prevail across Tampa Bay

    Weather

    Tampa Bay residents can expect a calm, rain-free start to Tuesday before showers arrive in the evening.

    Tampa Bay's 7 day forecast. [WTSP]
  4. Afghanistan reaction mixed on Trump's tough-talking speech

    World

    KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghans on Tuesday welcomed U.S. President Donald Trump's harsh words for Pakistan in a speech outlining his strategy for the war-torn country that critics said offered little in the way of details and ruled out nation-building.

    President Donald Trump speaks at Fort Myer in Arlington Va., Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, during a Presidential Address to the Nation about a strategy he believes will best position the U.S. to eventually declare victory in Afghanistan. [Associated Press]