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Meteorologist: ‘Severe Weather Threat Is Almost Zero’ For Obama’s DNC Speech

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Delegate seats on the floor at the Warner Cable Arena are empty hours before the start of the Democratic National Convention (DNC), on Sept. 4, 2012 in Charlotte, N.C. (credit: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

Delegate seats on the floor at the Warner Cable Arena are empty hours before the start of the Democratic National Convention (DNC), on Sept. 4, 2012 in Charlotte, N.C. (credit: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

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CHARLOTTE (CBS Charlotte/AP) — A top Charlotte meteorologist says there is virtually no threat of severe weather Thursday night as Democratic officials move President Barack Obama’s convention speech indoors.

Brad Panovich, chief meteorologist at WCNC in Charlotte, indicated that storms would not have been an issue the time the president was supposed to speak at Bank of America stadium.

“Severe threat is almost zero Thursday night & chance of rain is 20%,” Panovich said on Twitter.

Forecasts for Thursday night had been improving all through the week. The National Weather Service said Wednesday morning that there is a 40 percent chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon, but it would drop to 20 percent by the time the president was scheduled to speak.

Obama had planned to accept his party’s nomination in an outdoor football stadium before a crowd of up to 74,000 people. But Obama officials said forecasters have predicted severe thunderstorms Thursday in the 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. hour, raising concerns about the safety of supporters, volunteers, staff members and law enforcement.

Officials said Thursday’s entire program would be moved indoors, including Vice President Joe Biden’s speech. The events will be held at the Time Warner Cable Arena, the site of the first two days of the convention proceedings.

The move will significantly reduce the number of people Obama will speak to in person.

Republicans, who canceled the first day of their own convention due to weather in Tampa, Fla., accused Democrats of downgrading their events because of low enthusiasm.

“Problems filling the seats?” mused Republican National Committee spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski.

It has rained every day since Saturday in Charlotte. Strong storms brought downpours of nearly an inch Monday and Tuesday.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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