When I heard that the Republicans were planning to hold their 2012 national convention in Tampa – in August – my first reaction was that whoever made that decision was crazy.
Having lived for two years across the bay in St. Petersburg and gone to college in Florida, I know that the Sunshine State is a miserably hot and humid place to be in August. Plus there’s this potential party pooper called Hurricane Season – which is posing a threat to the GOP convention that officially gets under way Monday.
The forecasters are saying that Isaac – which is now only a tropical storm but could develop into a hurricane – probably won’t hit Tampa directly, but even if it just comes close it could cause problems: heavy rain, flooding, canceled flights, even tornadoes.
Back in June 1966, our family had to evacuate our home, located on a bayou, when Hurricane Alma paralleled the Gulf Coast of Florida. We spent the night inland, sleeping in a school gymnasium. We were fortunate that Alma passed by at low tide; had it hit a few hours earlier or later, our home probably would have been flooded. Although it didn’t come ashore in Pinellas County, it caused a lot of damage and power outages.
With luck, the conventiongoers will dodge the bullet. If the event goes on as planned, I suggest attendees bring their rain hats and a sense of humor (which I’ve always found helpful when going back to visit that crazy state).
And file this for later: Never go to Florida in July or August. My recommendation: early November. Hurricane season is pretty much over; the tourists won’t descend for a few more weeks (so lines at attractions like Disney World and Universal Studios are short); and the weather is pleasant, not brutal.
Any local attendees wanting a restaurant recommendation: Don’t miss Columbia Restaurant in the Ybor City district for traditional Cuban food. It’s the oldest restaurant in the state, dating to 1905. Pricey, but worth it.
As for my favorite getaway spot . . . well, I’ll keep that to myself.