With Tropical Storm Isaac roaring toward Gulf shores, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said he’ll be skipping the Republican National Convention.
Jindal also missed the convention in St. Paul, Minn., four years ago when Hurricane Gustav hit his state.
“I will not be speaking or attending the Republican convention in Florida,” Jindal tweeted this afternoon. “Party conventions are interesting but there’s no time for politics here in Louisiana.”
Jindal was scheduled to speak Wednesday night in Tampa.
“One of the things I want to make clear is that every storm is unique. There are now 20 parishes under a hurricane warning,” he continued. “The national weather service has a low level of confidence on the direction of the storm, anyone within the cone should be prepared.”
“Today is the day to get out of harms [sic] way,” the governor also tweeted. “We sent a letter to yesterday to the federal government requesting a pre-landfall declaration. FEMA says it’s still pending.”
On a conference call with reporters today, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate said his agency’s teams were fanning out from Louisiana to Florida. “I’m concerned that people are too concerned on where it’s going to make landfall,” Fugate said.
Even though it has not yet reached hurricane strength, he stressed, it carries a “very large area of impact.”
National Hurricane Center Director Rick Knabb said they are forecasting growth to a Category 1 hurricane as the storm crosses the Gulf of Mexico, though “it could be a little stronger than that.”
He said the greatest concerns are Isaac’s large size and slow movement, meaning that when it starts raining in an area due to the storm “it could take a couple days” to stop. The greater threat than winds from this storm is likely to be the storm surge of 6-12 feet and “river flooding that could linger for days.”
“The weather will start going downhill tonight,” Knabb said. “Wherever people are going to be during the storm they need to get there tonight.”
“Don’t think just a tropical storm can’t be bad,” Fugate said.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott also pulled out of a less prominent convention speaking role to focus on the storm and his state.