Storm Trouble for RNC and Oil
Tropical storm Isaac remains somewhat disorganized early this morning as it slowly marches towards the Florida keys. As has been the case much of the week, the energy for the storm is not completely aligned with the center.
Until all the pieces of the system become better organized it can't really strengthen very much. Atmospheric conditions over the waters west of the Florida peninsula are forecast to become quite favorable for the storm.
Once the storm reaches the Gulf of Mexico's warm water it should easily achieve hurricane strength later this weekend and early next week. Before that happens, the southwest corner and the lower Keys of Florida have the best chance for tropical storm force winds. Thereafter, most of the strongest winds from the storm will remain offshore until the storm hits the Gulf Coast next week.
Some U.S. oil and gas producers in the Gulf of Mexico shut in production and were evacuating energy infrastructure on Saturday as Tropical Storm Isaac headed for Cuba on a path toward the eastern part of the Gulf.
The U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said on Saturday that 8.63 percent of the Gulf's oil output and 1.62 percent of natural gas production per day was shut down.
The Gulf of Mexico accounts for about 23 percent of U.S. oil production and 7 percent of natural gas output, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. About 30 percent of U.S. natural gas processing plant capacity and 44 percent of the country's refining capacity also line the Gulf Coast, the EIA said.
Republican officials delayed the start of the Republican Convention in Tampa on Saturday as Florida braced for Tropical Storm Isaac.
Republican convention officials reiterated their concern for the safety of convention delegates on Saturday on a last-minute conference call with reporters. The delegates would have been bused into downtown Tampa on Monday for a procedural roll call vote.
Bridges linking places like Clearwater and St. Petersburg to downtown Tampa are expected to flood if heavy rains hit the city, making passage extremely dangerous. Officials said the roll call vote would be moved to Tuesday, at approximately the same time.