The Republican National Convention is still going to kick off tomorrow, despite previous talk about delaying it because of Hurricane Gustav. It’s currently a Category 3 storm, but folks in the area fear it might gain force before hitting land sometime on Monday. While the RNC won’t be delayed, the hurricane is altering plans for the event. From Politico:

President Bush is unlikely to make it to the Republican National Convention and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) may deliver his acceptance speech by satellite because of the historically huge hurricane threatening New Orleans, top officials said.

But officials insisted that the convention, scheduled to open here on Monday, will go on–albeit in a more limited and sedate form–even if Hurricane Gustav stays on its projected path. New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin ordered a mandatory evacuation beginning at 8 a.m. Sunday after federal officials said Gustav could grow to a catastrophic Category 5 and hit Monday afternoon somewhere between eastern Texas and western Mississippi.

McCain made plans to travel to a threatened area of the Gulf coast on Sunday, accompanied by his wife, Cindy, and running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R). They planned to meet Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) in Jackson, Miss., aides said.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

McCain was scheduled to deliver his acceptance speech Thursday but now may do so from the devastation zone if the storm hits the U.S. coast with the ferocity feared by forecasters.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.