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Hurricane Isaac to Disrupt GOP Convention?

August 20th, 2012 - 11:29 pm

It’s been a rough couple of days for the Republican Party, what with Missouri U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin’s absurd comments about “legitimate rape” dominating the news and putting GOP hopes of a Senate majority in jeopardy. Now a weather development may pile on the party’s misfortune. While Akin’s damaging idiocy might feel like a force of nature, the GOP may need to start watching a real force of nature: a developing tropical cyclone that could, potentially, threaten to disrupt the Republican National Convention in Tampa next week.

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“Invest 94L,” as it’s presently known, has been a focus of hurricane trackers’ attention for several days now, and tonight it’s showing new signs of organization. It appears highly likely to become a tropical depression on Tuesday, and to earn the name Tropical Storm Isaac not long after that.

In its 2:00 AM Atlantic Tropical Weather Outlook, the National Hurricane Center declared that 94L is almost certain to become a depression soon:

A WELL-DEFINED LOW PRESSURE IS LOCATED ABOUT 725 MILES EAST OF THE LESSER ANTILLES. THUNDERSTORM ACTIVITY HAS INCREASED AND BECOME BETTER ORGANIZED NEAR THE CENTER DURING THE PAST SEVERAL HOURS. IF THIS RECENT DEVELOPMENT TREND CONTINUES…THEN A TROPICAL DEPRESSION COULD FORM LATER THIS MORNING. THIS SYSTEM HAS A HIGH CHANCE…NEAR 100 PERCENT…OF BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS AS IT MOVES WESTWARD AT 20 TO 25 MPH. THIS LARGE DISTURBANCE COULD REACH THE LESSER ANTILLES BY WEDNESDAY…AND INTERESTS IN THAT AREA SHOULD CLOSELY MONITOR THE PROGRESS OF THIS SYSTEM SINCE TROPICAL STORM WATCHES COULD SOON BE REQUIRED FOR PORTIONS OF THOSE ISLANDS.

It is very, very, very early to speculate in any degree of detail about this proto-storm’s possible long-term future track or intensity. It’s a good 5 to 6 days away from any possible mainland U.S. impact, and computer model tracks are subject to huge errors at the 5-6 day time frame — even more so when the storm being modeled doesn’t even fully exist yet. Computer model intensity forecasts this far out, and this early in a cyclone’s life, border on useless.

That said, this Weather Underground map of model tracks — imprecise and subject to massive correction tough it is — has to be causing a little bit of heartburn at the Republican National Committee, don’t you think?

Four years ago, the GOP had to struggle with how to set the proper tone for its convention while Hurricane Gustav was impacting the Gulf coast. But the convention was far away in Minnesota. This time, conceivably — and I emphasize again that it’s very, very early, and anyone from Mexico to Maine could be this storm’s eventual landfall target — conceivably, the party might have to deal with some more direct effects of hurricane season.

The convention is set to begin Monday, August 27. That’s also roughly when Isaac might be showing up, perhaps in the vicinity. Stay tuned, as they say.

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