Tropical storm Karen, as it is known since being downgraded from hurricane, is still heading straight for the Gulf Coast region, and could still cause damage and flooding, especially to lower areas. At 11 a.m. ET it was 130 miles south-southwest of Morgan City, La., moving to the north at 7 mph. A tropical storm warning is still in effect from Morgan City to the mouth of the Pearl River.
The Southeast Louisianna coast can expect Karen to hit Saturday night and it has a slight chance of it actually gaining strength. Meteorologist David Bernard of CBS station WFOR in Miami says,”That’s going to mean there’s at least a chance of tropical force winds, the greatest chance along the southern Louisiana coast during the day today and into tonight, and lower chances as the storm weakens toward Mobile and Pensacola.”
The storm is expected to make its way across the Southeast US. According to NPR, forecasters say rain accumulations of 1 to 3 inches over the central Gulf Coast and Southeast U.S. are possible through Monday night, with isolated totals up to 6 inches.
The National Hurricane Center reported at 2 a.m. Saturday that Karen’s maximum sustained winds had dropped to 40 mph, making it a weak tropical storm. The storm was moving west-northwest at 10 mph to 15 mph. Karen began to lose force after a frantic day of preparations along the Gulf Coast for the storm, an unexpected worry in what had been a slow hurricane season in the U.S. Karen would be only the second named storm to make landfall in the U.S. Karen would be the first to make landfall since Tropical Storm Andrea hit Florida in June.
Alabama joined Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida in declaring a state of emergency, but with the governmnet shutdown, there was worry that it would be delayed. However, The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Interior Department recalled furloughed workers to deal with the storm and help state and local agencies.
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