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Tropical Storm Isaac poised to steal spotlight from Republican National Convention in Tampa

August 26, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
On Sunday, 50,000 or so visitors began arriving in Tampa, Fla., from across the country for the Republican National Convention. But already Tropical Storm Isaac had dampened the city's grand opportunity to showcase itself.

WFTS-TV Chief Meteorologist Denis Phillips and his staff have been watching the storm closely.

"These tropical systems, they swing bands of rain around, so what you'll have is 30-45 minutes of nasty weather, the winds will really pick up," Phillips said. "Very little lightning with this. You'll just get heavy rains, strong winds, and within two or three minutes, it's gone."

Preparations have been going on throughout the city. Undoubtedly, the outer bands of Isaac will cause some problems, but nothing compared to if it were a direct hit.

The bad news is that Isaac may turn out to be far more powerful than first predicted. When it hits, wherever that may be, it could steal the attention from the RNC.

"All of our computer models are hinting at a stronger storm, (Category) 3, maybe even a 4. That's when it gets nasty, and that's happening Wednesday late or Thursday probably," Phillips said.

That would make it the second time in a row that a hurricane has upstaged the Republican convention. Four years ago, it was hurricane Gustav that slammed into the Louisiana coast, causing the largest evacuation in U.S. history. Isaac has the same potential.

Look for ongoing reports from David Ono at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla. Eyewitness News will also be at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., in September.