"If we call for an evacuation, are we going to require an evacuation and arrest them? No we're going to offer the opportunity for their safety," she said.
The last hurricane to strike Tampa was Hurricane Jeanne in 2004. The Category 1 storm moved across the state toward Tampa, weakening along the way. It still knocked down trees and power lines, and damaged buildings. Three people were killed, but none in the Tampa Bay area.
Director of meteorology at Weather Underground, Jeff Masters, said based off the latest forecasts and computer models, there was a 3 percent chance of needing to evacuate the arena hosting the convention. There was 9 percent chance of Tampa experiencing tropical storm-force winds of at least 39 mph when the convention begins.
"Those odds are probably going to rise," he said.
Armario reported from Miami. Associated Press writers Gary Fineout in Tallahassee; Josh Funk in Omaha, Neb.; and Jeri Clausing in Albuquerque, N.M., also contributed to this report.
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