POSTED: Thursday, August 30, 2012 - 10:00am
UPDATED: Thursday, August 30, 2012 - 10:14am
TAMPA, Fla. (CNN) — Democratic National Convention officials have been anxiously watching the weather for next week when President Obama will deliver his convention speech from an outdoor stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina, a convention official told CNN. Another source said officials have readied a "contingency plan" which would be announced "closer to the convention" should extreme weather strike.
On Tuesday and Wednesday of next week, the DNC will hold events at the indoor Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte. On Thursday, President Obama -- and Vice President Biden - are slated to deliver acceptance speeches at the outdoor Bank of America Stadium. The stadium seats just over 73,000.
Forecasts show the potential for rain and possibly thunderstorms on Thursday for Charlotte, creating the potential for the soaking of the tens of thousands of attendees and casting a cloud over the carefully-staged event.
"There's been some conversations that the forecast is already predicting storms," one convention official said.
While stressing that no decisions have been made, the official said: "Of course there's some conversations about contingency plans."
The concern highlights the weather hazards of holding a presidential nomination acceptance speech in an outdoor venue -- a rare event only seen three times in U.S. history. This comes after the Republican National Convention delayed the start of its proceedings at the indoor Tampa Bay Times Forum over concerns about the tropical storm that would become Hurricane Isaac.
Another convention official confirmed the existence of a contingency plan.
"The convention proceedings at Bank of America Stadium will take place rain or shine, similar to other events at the stadium," the official said. "We have an advisory team in place that is constantly updating a contingency plan in the event of severe weather, which will be announced closer to the convention if the need arises."
When asked to outline what options that plan might include, the source said, "We will only announce contingency plans in the event that an emergency/severe weather actually arises, so that we can be sure that we communicate only one plan, the one that is accurate and relevant to the situation at hand."
"Our plans will take into account the stadium's existing weather plans that are used for Panthers games and other events," the source also said, referring to the Carolina Panthers football team headquartered at the venue.
According to Bank of America stadium, attendees to its football games and events typically stay outside when it rains. However, if there is lightning, the stadium encourages attendees to move under cover to the concession areas.
Regarding what to possibly advise delegates and guests who will attend for the president's speech, the second official said: "At the moment we are not advising anything, we are leaving that to the state party chairs to decide on what to advise their delegates."
Weather concerns are inherent in holding such an important political event in an outdoor venue -- a rare event in U.S. history.
In 2008, then Sen. Obama accepted the Democratic Party presidential nomination at the outdoor Invesco Field in Denver. It was the first time a nominee delivered an outdoor convention acceptance speech in nearly 50 years.
In 1960, John F. Kennedy delivered his speech at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Before that, Franklin Roosevelt gave an outdoor acceptance speech at Franklin Field in Philadelphia.
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By Shannon Travis