Tampa mayor: This tropical storm could force us to call off the GOP convention

Potential proof that, if God exists, he’s a Democrat. A double whammy for a conservative atheist, my friends.

Thus are a man’s dreams of four days of gloriously lazy open-thread convention blogging shattered:

Tampa won’t hesitate to pull the plug on the Republican National Convention next week if Tropical Storm Isaac threatens the Tampa Bay area as a major storm, Buckhorn told CNN Wednesday morning.

“Well, absolutely, we’re prepared to call it off,” [Mayor Bob] Buckhorn said on the network’s Early Start with John Berman. “I mean, safety and human life trump politics. I think the RNC recognizes that. The organizers, certainly Gov. (Mitt) Romney, recognize that.”

The chances that Isaac, which is churning in the Atlantic Ocean toward the Caribbean Sea, will hit the Bay area still remain small. But it did strike as a hurricane, the impact would be enormous. And with thousands of extra visitors in the area for the convention, community leaders would have the added responsibility of assuring their safety…

What officials have said is that authorities will make sure everyone is safe, first and foremost, and then it will be up to the GOP to make sure Mitt Romney is officially nominated as the party’s candidate. “You’ve got to get that legal function out of the way,” Jones said. “Once you figure how to do that without anybody getting hurt, you make sure people are safe you get them out of town and to an alternate location.”

The RNC lost most of day one of the convention to a hurricane in 2008 too, but that was a political decision, not a logistical one. The convention was in St. Paul, far from the storm; McCain et al. didn’t want the GOP in partisan attack mode while the Gulf was coping with Hurricane Gustav. If they have bad luck this time and Isaac hits Tampa full force, presumably they’ll compress the schedule to three, or even two, days, which wouldn’t be an altogether bad thing. Imagine Christie’s keynote and Ryan’s VP speech running back to back on Wednesday night. Faced with an electorate with a short attention span, you’re probably better off packing all your best speakers into a two- or three-hour spot anyway.

Chances of any of this happening, though: Thankfully slim, for Tampa’s sake.

Isaac is a threat to affect Tampa during the Republican National Convention, August 27 – 30, and the official NHC forecast now has Tampa in the 5-day cone of uncertainly. The latest 11 am EDT wind probability forecast from NHC gives Tampa a 9% chance of receiving tropical storm-force winds for the 24-hour period ending on the morning of first day of the convention (Monday). I blogged about the climatological chances of a hurricane causing an evacuation of Tampa during the convention in a post last week, putting the odds at 0.2%. I put the odds of an evacuation occurring during the convention in the current situation at 3%.

Second look at not scheduling the convention during hurricane season in a state known for fierce hurricanes? Exit quotation from The Onion: “I wouldn’t be surprised if this hurricane was just a plot concocted by the liberal mainstream meteorologists.”