Word is breaking that the first night of the Republican Convention is effectively canceled due to Tropical Storm Isaac.
A memo from the RNC chairman, just released:
DATE: August 25, 2012
FROM: RNC Chairman Reince Priebus @Reince
TO: Interested Parties
RE: RNC Convention
Due to the severe weather reports for the Tampa Bay area, the Republican National Convention will convene on Monday August 27th and immediately recess until Tuesday afternoon, August 28th, exact time to follow.
Our first priority is ensuring the safety of delegates, alternates, guests, members of the media attending the Republican National Convention, and citizens of the Tampa Bay area. RNC Convention officials and the Romney campaign are working closely with state, local and federal officials, as well as the Secret Service, to monitor Tropical Storm Isaac and preserve Florida’s emergency management resources. Officials have predicted participants may encounter severe transportation difficulties due to sustained wind and rain.
The Republican National Convention will take place and officially nominate Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, and the Party has other necessary business it must address. We also are remaining in constant contact with state and federal officials and may make additional schedule alterations as needed.
The Convention staff is working around-the-clock to ensure the delegations housed in storm-impacted areas have alternative housing if needed. The Committee on Arrangements will provide additional information to delegates and alternate delegates who are affected by Isaac by Sunday morning. We will also provide guidance to those delegates and alternate delegates who may encounter travel difficulties due to the storm.
We will begin issuing revised convention programming as early as Sunday.
We have an experienced team that will ensure changes are operationally smooth and create as little disruption as possible. The most important concern is safety, but our Convention program will proceed.
On a conference call, Priebus said the precise start time on Tuesday will be determined shortly. He said the primary concern was “severe transportation difficulties due to sustained wind and rain.”
The hope is that every speaker scheduled for four nights will be able to fit into three nights; the event program may start earlier on the remaining nights.
While it’s not unthinkable that some other coastal city will host a national party convention in the coming cycles, my guess is that the two parties will be avoiding the Gulf and Southeastern coasts for their late summer gatherings in the years to come . . .
Ironically, the United States has avoided “major” hurricanes for a long stretch:
Six years, nine months and 30 days have passed since Hurricane Wilma came ashore with 125-mph winds near Naples, Fla. — the longest period the nation has gone without a hit from a major hurricane since the government began keeping records in 1851.
If you’re wondering about Hurricane Gustav, which forced the cancellation of the first night of the Republican national convention four years ago, it was a category 2 at landfall. It did force the largest evacuation in U.S. history.