Continuous updates on Tropical Storm Isaac

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8:00 p.m. – Doesn’t look like much changed during dinner:

5:00 p.m. – These tracks are getting worse and worse for Tampa Bay:

3:50 p.m. – “It’s too early to say, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s going to be a disaster,’ ” said Dan Kottlowski, expert senior meteorologist with AccuWeather Forecast. (H/t to Michael Kruse.)

3:32 p.m. – The master of modeling, the New York Times‘ Nate Silver says “Hurricane forecasts have gotten A LOT better. But still huge uncertainty at this stage.”

2:00 p.m. – The latest track:

1:51 p.m. – Statement from Gov. Rick Scott:

“Although Tropical Storm Isaac is still far from Florida’s shores, we are closely tracking the potential for the storm to impact part or all of the state, including the Tampa Bay region during the Republican National Convention.  Florida’s state emergency management team and local emergency teams have been working closely with convention officials and have been planning for this event for more than a year, and the possibility of a hurricane hitting the convention has been part of that planning process.

“I am confident in our preparation, and the decision process in place to ensure the safety of both our residents and visitors during the convention.

“As Florida’s governor, I’m urging everyone across the state to monitor the storm track, and use the next several days to prepare for a potential storm.  As we know, storms this far from land are still unpredictable and everyone should be vigilant and prepared.”

12:46 p.m.  – ABC News meteorologist Dennis Phillips has a very helpful post on his Facebook page:

Tropical Update: In spite of the NHC forecast that looks more nerve wracking, the information hasn’t changed. It’s really simple folks. There is a giant bubble of air protecting the Southeast. It’s called a ridge. That ridge is expected to

 crack by Saturday. The LOCATION of the crack is key. The models are completely split on where that crack occurs. Some say it cracks to the right, and Issac missed Florida to the East. The Gfs cracks the ridge more to the left, and Issac crosses Cuba and hits Florida on Monday and Tuesday. The GFS says the ridge cracks late and brings Isaac into the Gulf to hit LA or Tx as a major hurricane. As we said yesterday, we won’t know until late Friday or Saturday. So until then, the models will flip flop, so might the forecasts…but THAT is the forecast is a nutshell. Here is what you need to do. Finish off your hurricane kits. Have everything you need in case the GFS is correct. IF it is, we will likely have strong tropical storm force winds or possibly hurricane force winds later Monday or Tuesday. If the other 2 possibilities are correct, we won’t see a thing. If the GFS is correct, I would expect winds between 60 and 80 mph on Tuesday. IF it’s right. There is a better chance it isn’t.

12:15 p.m. – “The spaghetti plots show agreement of a turn to the northwest,” Bay News 9 Meteorologist Juli Marques says. “It’s something we will continue to watch over the next few days.”

11:45 a.m. – Wasn’t life better before you knew what the term “cone of uncertainty” meant. The Tampa Bay Times‘ Michael Kruse believes “It’s such a good phrase. It’s a declaration. It’s an admission. It’s a metaphor. And there’s something somehow apt about the crashing-together of those four words and a major political convention.”

11:41 a.m. – @SteveBeste: Florida Hurricane Coverage is usually hysterical on Local TV. It will go to Defcon 9 with Nervous Nelly DC Journos here.

11:00 a.m. – The new track for Isaac has it coming up the West Coast of Florida:

9:11 a.m. – Tampa won’t hesitate to pull the plug on the Republican National Convention next week if Tropical Storm Isaac threatens the Tampa Bay area as a major storm, mayor Bob Buckhorn told CNN this morning.

“Well, absolutely, we’re prepared to call it off,” Buckhorn said on the network’s Early Start with John Berman. “I mean, safety and human life trump politics. I think the RNC recognizes that. The organizers, certainly Gov. (Mitt) Romney, recognize that.”

9:06 a.m. – As Gary Fineout notes, half the state of Florida is in the ‘cone of danger’ for Isaac under new advisory.

9:03 a.m. – The National Hurricane Center’s latest report noted Wednesday morning that tropical storm Isaac is getting “better organized” as it nears the U.S. coast.

8:22 a.m. – @MarcACaputo: What would be worse for the RNC? Hurricane Isaac or Hurricane Akin?

7:17 a.m. – Dana Milbank wonders if it could be seen as divine retribution; after all, didn’t Pat Robertson and Michele Bachmann warn us about God smiting us for bad behavior with hurricanes?

7:08 a.m. – The most recent hurricane hunter mission into TD 9 was scheduled for 2 a.m., and there will be a new mission launched every six hours. The NOAA jet is first scheduled to fly into the storm on Thursday afternoon, to do a large-scale dropsonde mission to aid model forecasts.

7:06 a.m. – It’s much too early to say with any certainty whether it will gain hurricane strength or make a beeline for Tampa. But this is the type of weather that convention organizers knew was a possibility during the peak of hurricane season — and they have backup plans in place in a worst-case scenario.

5:01 a.m. – The latest forecast:

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.