(Newsroom America) -- With Tropical Storm Isaac gathering strength in the Caribbean, forecasters say it could eventually strike Florida and force officials to either postpone or cancel the Republican National Convention next week.
At present, weather forecasters say it's too early to tell what path the storm will actually take. They say it could travel as far west as the Gulf of Mexico or veer east along the Atlantic coast, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.
As of Thursday morning the storm, with 45 mph winds, was tracking across the Leeward Islands and was expected to pass near Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, according to the National Hurricane Center. Weather.com reported that Isaac is likely to strengthen and could become a hurricane by Friday.
Early Wednesday, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn hinted that the Republican National Convention might have to either be delayed or even canceled.
"Absolutely, we're prepared to call it off," he told CNN. The convention is scheduled to open Monday and run through Thursday.
Later in the day, Buckhorn told WSJ that cancellation "would be a last resort."
"I don't think it will come to that," he said. "We are full speed ahead with the RNC," he said.
Meanwhile, convention organizers said they were tracking the storm as well.
"The convention is working closely with our partners at the federal, state and local levels," James Davis, director of communications for the convention, told the paper.
"We have contingency plans in place to ensure the health and safety" of attendees and local residents, he said, without adding details.
Overall security for the convention is being coordinated by the Secret Service.
State emergency response agencies held a hurricane readiness exercise in May in Tampa, specifically because the GOP convention would he held there, officials said.
"It certainly improved our readiness," Bryan Koon, the division's director, told the paper.
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