Officials in Florida are holding a disaster planning drill to determine just how bad a Category 3 hurricane would be for the Republican National Convention.
This week, he and other state Emergency Management officials will run through the nightmare scenario of a major hurricane hitting Tampa during the middle of the convention. The storm, nicknamed "Hurricane Gispert" for Hillsborough's recently retired EOC director, will follow the path of the last major storm to hit Tampa Bay, the Hurricane of 1921.
"The impacts would be devastating," said Brian LaMarre of the National Weather Service in Ruskin. He is among the team of meteorologists helping to coordinate with the U.S. Secret Service for just such a scenario. The week of the convention, a team from the Ruskin office will staff the emergency operations center in Tampa around the clock.
"Downtown Tampa would be under water, transportation would be severed," says LaMarre. "If we see a category 1 impact downtown Tampa at high tide, the bridges will no longer be passable." - WTSP
Matt has written repeatedly about hurricanes and conventions (see here, here, here, here and here). The biggest takeaway from his posts is this:
The chance of a hurricane hitting Tampa Bay the week of the convention are probably less than 1 percent, a National Hurricane Center scientist estimates. ...
"For a major hurricane, it's a rare event," said Chris Landsea, science and operations officer at the National Hurricane Center in Miami.
In August, most hurricanes move east to west. So Tampa Bay, on Florida's west coast, tends to be a "little shielded," he said.
Landsea puts the chances of a hurricane hitting the Tampa Bay area during August at about 2 to 3 percent.
For any given week in August, the chance may be one-half of 1 percent — or possibly up to 1 percent if 2012 is an especially busy hurricane season.
I don't think people should be worried about hurricanes in Tampa... they should be worried about earthquakes.
And just in case you think Charlotte reporters aren't joining in the fun there's this:
The peak of hurricane season is usually around Sept. 10, but the peak activity in the Carolinas is the first week of September.
That week happens to coincide with the DNC this year.
Lewis Collins is concerned about what his trip to work in uptown Charlotte will be like in early September.
"It's going to be a madhouse," he said.
But he's also concerned about a hurricane hitting the coast - or possibly further inland -- at the same time. Collins said he still remembers everything about 1989, the year Hurricane Hugo hit. - WSOC