Convention planners breathe a little easier as Isaac shifts away from Tampa

CNN Wire Service

(CNN) — One day after officials decided to postpone the Republican National Convention, concerns about the impact of Tropical Storm Isaac on Tampa, Florida seemed to lighten as the storm indicated its impending track would shift west of the convention site.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus announced Saturday the convention would officially convene Monday but speeches and other events would not begin until Tuesday afternoon.

Forecasters on Sunday adjusted Isaac’s projected path further to the west, which would take it farther away from Tampa than had earlier been expected. Still, tropical storm conditions are expected in Tampa Sunday night and Monday morning with heavy rain and strong, gusty winds.

The storm is projected to make landfall as a Category 2 hurricane on Wednesday along the Mississippi coast.

The now three-day convention will still feature all or most of the major scheduled speeches, Priebus said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Delaying the start of the convention was “the right thing to do,” Priebus said.

“Everything is going to be back to normal on Tuesday,” Priebus said, adding that some speeches may be shorter than originally planned.

Convention officials will host a conference call Sunday at 5:45 p.m. ET to release further details about the week’s adjusted schedule.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott, meanwhile, canceled his planned convention appearances for Tuesday in order to monitor issues related to Isaac, his office said Sunday.

“We made sure that the delegates that are coming, they have information about how they should act around here with regard, because some of them have never been around a hurricane,” Scott said in a news conference, adding that the storm has moved slightly west and could affect other Gulf states.

Still, the state already experienced the force of Isaac on Sunday, with rain and whipping winds hitting the Florida Keys and the southern tip of the peninsula.

The storm is expected to gain strength in the warm water of the Gulf of Mexico and become a hurricane by early Monday.

Earlier on CNN Sunday, Scott said the Sunshine State was prepared to handle Isaac should it turn into a hurricane and hit its shores.

“We do hurricanes well and we do hospitality well,” Scott said on CNN. “And this week we’ve got to show both sides.”

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal signaled he may miss the convention, as his home state prepares for potential impact of the storm. Jindal missed the convention four years ago when Hurricane Gustav slammed into New Orleans.

“The Governor was slated to speak at the convention in 2008 when Gustav hit, he not only didn’t speak, he didn’t even go,” said Jindal’s communications director, Kyle Plotkin, in a statement to CNN. “He will certainly not leave the state if our people are in peril.”