One of the drawbacks of holding a conference at the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season is that there will nearly always be some tropical storm or hurricane activity to consider. This year, we are looking at Hurricane Irma.
As of 8 am on Monday, 4 September, there is too much uncertainty to assess the likelihood that Irma could interfere with the conference. At the moment, the odds appear to be considerably against such direct interference, but it is not outside of the realm of possibility.
We should begin to see a clearer picture by Tuesday morning. At that time, we will post additional information. In the meantime, the data sources we are looking at follow.
Point 1: If Irma does affect Tampa, it appears that it will do so after the conference
Based upon the 5-day plot from the National Hurricane Center (accessible at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/ through the “Static Cone/Warnings” graphic), at its current speed, Irma is likely to be a week away from central Florida.
This is consistent with the “Wind Speed Probabilities” table, listed on the same page, which does not show any probability of arrival before Saturday, and even then, it would be the tropical storm force winds that precede the hurricane itself.
Point 2: A growing number of models suggest that Tampa may be in the region that Irma impacts
The spaghetti plots–compiled by the South Florida Water Management District (https://www.sfwmd.gov/weather-radar/hurricane-model-plots)–suggest that we need to keep an eye on Irma, since many of them seem to imply that Tampa may be at risk.