TAMPA, Florida - Fears over the impact of Tropical Storm Isaac prompted Republican leaders in Tampa to cut short Monday's opening day.
In a statement released Saturday night Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said "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."
Earlier Saturday Priebus told Newschannel 5 "We're monitoring it, every few hours we're getting together, we just want to do a couple of things; one we just have to make sure we have a safe environment for everybody. We have to be respectful with what the realities are with rain and wind and all those things."
Bands of rain moved into the Tampa Bay area around 4 p.m., just a tease of the potential havoc Isaac could bring to the area.
Sharing our flight out of Cleveland were several volunteers with the American Red Cross, dispatched to Tampa to start while they wait to see where the storm is headed and where their services are needed.
A Tropical Storm watch is in effect for the Tampa area and Florida's Governor Rick Scott has already declared a state of emergency to guarantee that local and state agencies would be prepared.
"We feel better where things are going on the weather front but we're also pretty nimble too, we're able to make decisions fast if we need to," said Priebus.
Republican National Convention President and CEO Bill Harris said "our chief priority is the safety of the residents of Florida, of those visiting the convention and all those in the Gulf Coast states," he said. "The scheduling changes we are announcing today will help ensure the continued safety of all participants."
This is actually the second convention in a row for Republicans impacted by weather. In 2008 the first night of the RNC was drastically reduced in St. Paul, Minnesota because of Hurricane Gustav which hit the Gulf Coast and forced speakers like President George W. Bush to cancel his address.
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