Storm like Debby would not stop Republican National Convention

6:01 PM, Jun 27, 2012   |    comments
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Tampa, Florida -- While Tropical Storm Debby closed area roads and bridges this week those involved with putting on the Republican National Convention say it would likely take a stronger storm to cancel the August event.

"We're very confident in our relationship and the plans we've put together for all contingencies including weather and we're ready to execute upon those during the convention if needed," Republican National Convention Communications Director James Davis told 10 News.

Even so, a storm like Debby would stretch resources at a time when the city would already be bringing in 3,000 extra officers. Plus, water levels would be a concern, as the convention center is located in Zone A which means the building would have to be evacuated if a storm intensifies to a category 1 hurricane. The Tampa Bay Times Forum would be evacuated with anything stronger, as it is located in Zone B.

"We live with hurricanes every year. It's a mayor's worst nightmare, but we train hard for it," Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said this week.

"We deploy our resources accordingly. We are ready in the event a hurricane comes, because that's the world we live in. The RNC just happens to be in the third week of August. Notwithstanding the RNC, we would be in full hurricane mode regardless and we're ready for it if it comes."

For delegates staying at beach hotels like the TradeWinds Island Resorts in St. Pete Beach, their commute would also be much longer if a storm like Debby hits. But TradeWinds President Keith Overton says they would not necessarily be forced to close because of a tropical storm.

"In our case, you have to come on and off the island through bridge access and if those bridges were closed for whatever reason that could present some problems for transportation getting back and forth from the Tampa Bay Times Forum to here," Overton said.

Finally, while organizers are optimistic that a tropical storm would not prevent the show from going on, the images from the storm would likely not be the types of pictures local tourism officials were be hoping for when they landed the convention.

The Republican National Convention is scheduled to begin on August 27th in Tampa.