Saturday, August 30, 2008

Hurricane Gustav Timed For The Republican Convention?

The video below is just one of several possible storm tracks projected for Hurricane Gustav. (Track modeled early on Aug. 27 by the National Weather Service.) If Gustav does take this particular track, it will hit the New Orleans area around the same time that the Republican National Convention begins in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

On Saturday August 30 the National Hurricane Center upgraded Gustav to a Category Four storm, with maximum sustained winds near 145 mph, making it the strongest Atlantic storm of 2008. However, by 4 P.M. CDT Sunday afternoon Hurricane Gustav had dropped to Category 3 strength and is not expected to reach Category 4 strength again before hitting the U.S. Gulf Coast sometime Monday, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center.

It could strike the U.S. coast anywhere from Mississippi to Texas, but the storm track remains centered on the Louisiana coast west of New Orleans as of 4 P.M. CDT Sunday afternoon. Whatever its exact landing point, a Category 3 storm surge can still cause serious damage throughout the region, including the City of New Orleans.

Republican officials are actively considering delaying the start of the GOP convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul because of Tropical Storm Gustav, which is on track to hit the Gulf Coast, and possibly New Orleans, as a Category Four to Five hurricane early next week.

ABC News' Karen Travers reports: In an interview with Fox News' Chris Wallace that will air Sunday morning, Sen. John McCain indicated that the GOP convention could be suspended because of Hurricane Gustav. A Republican convention official tells ABC News, however, that at this point, there are no plans to cancel the convention. This official says the Republican National Convention Committee is "still moving forward with opening the convention on Monday" as planned and notes that there is official business that has to happen at the convention, like the actual nomination of John McCain and the platform ratification.

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