TAMPA — With tropical storm Issac sweeping toward Florida and gaining speed, the Republican National Committee announced that it would cancel Monday night’s convention festivities here and open the event on Tuesday night instead.

Though the convention host city isn’t expected to be directly hit by Issac, it is expected at least to feel some effects of the strong storm system, which is projected to gain hurricane speed and slam into southern Florida on Sunday and Monday.

RNC chairman Reince Priebus wrote in a memo that, ”Officials have predicted participants may encounter severe transportation difficulties due to sustained wind and rain.”

The convention will meet on Monday for a pro forma session, but “immediately recess until Tuesday afternoon.”

With the cancellation of Monday night’s program , the four-day schedule of the convention will be compressed to three days.

It wouldn’t be the first time that weather delayed the opening of the Republican convention. In 2008, Republicans also cancelled Monday night’s speeches due to Hurricane Gustav.

This year’s Democratic convention, which begins Tuesday Sept. 4, is also three days.