Plans in place in case of hurricane during RNC

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Emergency management officials are keeping watch on a tropical storm that could be swirling toward Florida during the Republican National Convention.

If the tropical disturbance churns out thunderstorms or becomes a hurricane, officials say they will follow standard emergency procedures for shelter and evacuation despite the additional 50,000 visitors and 15,000 protesters expected to be in town for the convention.

“Basically, we have to follow our normal protocols,” said Hillsborough County Emergency Management spokeswoman Holly Wade.

That means tracking tropical weather systems during the week of the convention, then relaying the information to convention organizers.

And if a storm does hit, work crews will be out the moment the weather calms down to assess damage and begin repairs, emergency officials said.

If a hurricane or tropical storm is bearing down on Tampa, the priority of law enforcement is to evacuate residents, leaving GOP officials to make the decision of when to evacuate delegates, Wade said.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, 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.