State managers have been preparing for trouble in the tropics. They have run hurricane drills and developed contingency plans if a tropical system approaches Tampa Bay before or during the Republican National Convention.
A hurricane could disrupt the convention even if it misses Tampa Bay. The last GOP convention in St. Paul shows how the party will likely respond to a hurricane, even if it hits hundreds of miles away.
In 2008, Republicans scaled back their convention when Hurricane Gustav hit Louisiana. Delegates along the Gulf Coast flew back home. The first day of the convention focused on storm relief.
This year, a storm could threaten the convention site. State, city and convention leaders say they will not put lives at risk, so if a major storm bears down on Tampa before or during the convention, it could be shortened or canceled.
"If there's a weather incident, then life, health and safety come first," said Tampa Bay Host Committee CEO Ken Jones. "The RNC will work on their legal process how do we get their candidates to be nominated."
Republicans meet next week in Tampa, and Democrats the week after that in Charlotte, which is also vulnerable to tropical weather systems.