TAMPA, Fla. - They say the show must go on, but Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said he is prepared to drop the curtain on the Republican National Convention if a hurricane threatens public safety.
"I don't think that it's going to be a factor in this particular convention, but we are prepared if it is," said an optimistic Buckhorn, who promised to put politics aside when it comes to dealing with a dangerous storm. Buckhorn, a democrat, said his city departments have been preparing months in advance for the possibility of a hurricane.
"It is our reality as Floridians," the mayor said. "We have a beautiful city. It's here on the water. But obviously there are some circumstances that involve weather," Buckhorn said.
Organizers of the Republican National Convention said reports about the potential of Tropical Storm Isaac becoming a hurricane reached the thousands of delegates planning to travel to Tampa from around the country in coming days. Naturally, many of them called about the storm.
"All day," said RNC spokesman Kyle Downey. He said the questions were centered on whether Isaac would affect the convention and how organizers would deal with it. Downey wouldn't say what the plan is.
"I'm not going to speculate on what we will or won't do," Downey said. "But contingency plans are in place and we will continue to monitor the situation," he said.
Hillsborough County Emergency Operations officials said they are prepared to evacuate the tens of thousands of delegates in the event a severe storm strikes the city.
"We have practiced this. We have prepared for it," said Willie Puz with the EOC. But he emphasized that it's too early to say what action would be necessary when Isaac is still more than a thousand miles away.
"We could have a tropical storm. We could have a category 5. We could have nothing," Puz said. "Each of those would cause us to have a different type of response," he said.
EOC officials said they will work in conjunction with the RNC on how to keep the delegates safe in the event of a storm.
"We're ready to implement the plans that we have in place," Puz said.
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Hillsborough County officials released a 25-page report Wednesday detailing the efforts they went through to save Jeff Bush's life after he was swallowed up by in sinkhole while asleep in his Seffner home.