RNC Maps Out Worst-Case Scenarios as Isaac Heads Towards New Orleans

Heather Ginsberg

8/27/2012 10:48:00 AM - Heather Ginsberg

Only 7 year after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast, New Orleans is battening down the hatches to prepare for another big storm heading their way.  As of now Isaac remains a tropical storm, but as it travels over the warm water of the gulf it is expected to build to a Category 1 hurricane.  Although Katrina was a much harsher storm, Category 5, Isaac could still bring winds of up to 90 mph. The Associated Press writes:

Isaac blew past the Florida Keys and was rolling northwestward over the open Gulf of Mexico on Monday. The National Hurricane Center predicted it would grow to a Category 1 hurricane over the warm water and possibly hit late Tuesday somewhere along a roughly 300-mile stretch from the bayous southwest of New Orleans to the Florida Panhandle.

"If it comes in, it's just going to be a big rain storm. I think they overreacted but I understand where they're coming from. It's safety," he said.

The storm that left eight dead in Haiti blew past the Florida Keys with little damage and promised a drenching but little more for Tampa, where the planned Monday start of the Republican National Convention was pushed back a day in case Isaac passed closer to the bayside city.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal called a state of emergency, and 53,000 residents of St. Charles Parish near New Orleans were told to leave ahead of the storm. Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant, Florida Gov. Rick Scott and Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley also declared states of emergency.

The latest news on Governor Bobby Jindal concerns whether or not he will attend the Convention. With the declared state of emergency, it would be no surprise to see Jindal skip the stage at the Convention and go home to Louisiana to deal with the coming storm. Look back to see if Jindal will speak at the GOP Convention.

UPDATE (LB):

The tropical storm warning for Tampa and the coastal areas of Florida’s panhandle have been canceled, according to the National Weather Service – but that doesn’t mean weather won't necessarily affect the RNC. Mindful of the “political awkwardness” of celebrating while Isaac quickly approaches New Orleans on the anniversary of Katrina, RNC officials are mulling a number of worst-case scenarios that would change the schedule of events again. According to the National Journal, some of the scenarios include a truncated speech by Mitt Romney, a quick roll call, the Convention being shortened to a single day or at worst:

“Romney delivering a brief speech declaring the emergency is bigger than politics, shuttering the convention and turning the public’s attention to the Gulf Coast.

"That might not be the worst-case scenario” politically for Romney if he’s seen as putting people ahead of politics, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss convention options.”

No decisions have been made yet. Townhall will bring updates as they come.