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FEMA: GOP convention, Katrina overshadow storm's threat to Gulf Coast

The storm is expected to make landfall as a hurricane Wednesday morning far west of Tampa, but it could cause a storm surge as close as the Florida panhandle.  

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Storm watches have been issued in Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida. The Florida panhandle is expected to receive a 3- to 6-foot storm surge, according to the National Hurricane Center Director Rick Knabb.

Knabb said Isaac will likely become a hurricane before it makes landfall. But the largest concern is storm surge and flooding caused by the size and speed of the storm as it approaches the coast.

“A slow-moving, large system poses a lot of problems regardless, to some extent, of how strong it is,” Knabb said.

Fugate said he briefed President Obama on the storm Sunday and will talk with him again later Monday.

As of Monday, organizers for the GOP convention said they would not further delay the event.

A similar delay occurred at the 2008 GOP convention in Minnesota. Organizers scaled back the first day’s events in deference to damage done by Hurricane Gustav, which was bearing down on the Gulf Coast at the time.

Then-President George W. Bush and Vice President Cheney skipped the convention that year. The Minnesota convention took place three years after Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans.

This week marks the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.