Did the RNC jump the gun by delaying convention?

(CNN) - GOP convention officials went to great lengths Sunday to cram a four-day event into three days after it canceled the gathering's Monday calendar, citing severe weather conditions from Tropical Storm Isaac.

But did they jump the gun when they first decided Saturday to delay the start of the convention?

Come Monday, those in Tampa may be saying "yes."

Sunday night, it appeared Isaac would mostly bypass Florida's west coast, including the convention site. The storm should strengthen into a hurricane in the next day or two, but it's expected now to strike further west, anywhere between the Florida Panhandle and Louisiana.

According to the CNN meteorologist Sean Morris, sustained winds in Tampa could be 25-30 miles per hour. But these are not the tropical storm or hurricane force winds once feared. Showers and thunderstorms are still likely and may result in one to two inches of rain if the Tampa Bay area gets one of the bands from the storm.

"They canceled it for a bad hair day," Morris said.

When Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus announced a delayed start to the convention Saturday in the early evening, the storm had already begun shifting west, away from Tampa and toward the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

At the time, Priebus cited "severe weather reports for the Tampa Bay area" as the main reason for postponing the start time. He added that the RNC had been in contact with state, local and federal officials, as well as the Secret Service, on logistics surrounding the storm's potential impact, saying participants could encounter "severe transportation difficulties" due to the wind and rain.

"Our first priority is ensuring the safety of our delegates, our guests, members of the media attending the RNC convention and citizens of the Tampa Bay area," Priebus said.

Wind gusts in Tampa were recorded at 30 miles per hour on Saturday afternoon. At the time the RNC postponed the convention, tropical storm force winds were expected to stretch into Tampa as early as Monday morning through late Tuesday morning. Part of the storm--rain and whipping winds--slammed into the Florida Keys and the southern tip of the peninsula on Sunday.

Delaying the start of the convention was "the right thing to do," Priebus said of the now-three day gathering Sunday morning on CNN's "State of the Union."

"Everything is going to be back to normal on Tuesday," Priebus said, adding that some speeches may be shorter than originally planned.

GOP officials expect 50,000 people to attend the convention where Mitt Romney will officially accept his party's presidential nomination and make the final turn to the November election.

A new schedule was announced Sunday night, with almost all of Monday's speakers moved to new time slots that fall between Tuesday and the final day on Thursday.

"There have been a few speakers who weren't headliners that we had to let go," Romney for President Strategist Russ Schriefer said on the call.

Earlier Sunday, GOP officials signaled they were considering making an extension to the convention by holding events on Friday, but the new schedule does not include any events for that day.

"We are not considering a Friday session," convention organizers told reporters. "However we have a weather event. We'll watch the weather and if because of the weather something has to change, we'll let you know."

CNN's Ashley Killough, Gregory Wallace and CNN Wire Staff contributed to this report.
 


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