Tropical Storm Isaac lashed south Florida with winds and heavy rain on Sunday after battering the Caribbean, threatening to interrupt most U.S. offshore oil production in the Gulf of Mexico and disrupting plans for the Republican National Convention in Tampa.
Isaac is expected to strengthen to a Category 2 hurricane and hit the Gulf Coast somewhere between Florida and Louisiana at midweek – on or near the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina – the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said in an advisory.
Forecasters are predicting a more westward track that could bring Isaac over the heart of the U.S. offshore oil patch, which produces about 23 percent of U.S. oil output and 7 percent of its natural gas output.
Hundreds of flights have been cancelled and oil and gas production is affected by a storm that has already killed at least six people in Haiti.
The Republican Party has delayed by a day the start of its convention.
Organizers of the Republican National Convention to officially endorse Mitt Romney and Congressman Paul Ryan as the GOP candidates in the November presidential vote, have postponed Monday’s start of the four-day event in Tampa, Fla., because of approaching Tropical Storm Isaac, Fox News reports.
The convention will convene Monday as scheduled, then recess until Tuesday afternoon. Officials said the delegate roll call that will lead to presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s official nomination has been moved from Monday to Tuesday.
The latest opinion polls show the incumbent Barack Obama and Mitt Romney running virtually neck and neck.