When Hurricane Isaac hit last year, this Examiner worried that it would dredge up BP oil and detritus in the Gulf of Mexico. That prediction proved accurate, as oil washed ashore and up through Barataria Bay and elsewhere along the coast.
Now, many are wondering if Tropical Storm Karen could also bring up oil that's deep in the water column.
As of this morning, the National Weather Service has downgraded Karen and winds are not set to be at tropical storm force. The prediction for the New Orleans area is around 20 to 30 mph, with wind gusts up to 40 mph. But remember, storms are unpredictable.
As of 7 a.m. CDT, Karen's center was located near latitude 27.5N and longitude 91.5W, about 190 miles south-southwest of NOLA, or about 150 miles southwest of Grand Isle. Storm motion was N or 350 degrees at 10 mph with an intensity of 40 mph, the NWS says.
The NWS says Karen is barrelling toward the northern Gulf Coast, and while precautions should be taken, it's nowhere near hurricane strength:
...AS TROPICAL STORM KAREN APPROACHES THE COAST... THERE IS A CHANCE FOR COMBINED STORM SURGE AND ASTRONOMICAL TIDE WATERS UP TO 2 FEET ABOVE MEAN SEA LEVEL WITHIN AREAS CLOSER TO THE COAST... RESULTING IN WORST CASE FLOOD INUNDATION OF 1 TO 3 FEET ABOVE GROUND LEVEL SOMEWHERE WITHIN THE SURGE ZONE.
FOR 1 TO 3 FEET OF INUNDATION... STORM SURGE FLOODING CAN BE EXPECTED OUTSIDE HURRICANE PROTECTION LEVEES. MAIN CONCERN WILL BE FLOODING ROADS ALONG THE COAST... BAYOUS... BAYS... INLETS... AND LOW LYING AREAS. AT THIS TIME THE GREATEST POTENTIAL FOR 3 FEET OF INUNDATION APPEARS TO BE IN ALONG SOUTHWESTERN COASTS OF LAKE PONTCHARTRAIN BUT CAN NOT BE RULED OUT ANYWHERE ALONG THE LAKES.
They go on to warn that:
WATCHES/WARNINGS... A TROPICAL STORM WARNING CONTINUES FOR THE FOLLOWING LOCATIONS... ASSUMPTION... UPPER LAFOURCHE... UPPER TERREBONNE... LOWER TERREBONNE... LOWER LAFOURCHE... LOWER JEFFERSON... LOWER PLAQUEMINES AND LOWER ST. BERNARD.
FOR MARINE INTERESTS... A TROPICAL STORM WARNING CONTINUES FOR PORTIONS OF SOUTHEAST LOUISIANA AND MISSISSIPPI COASTAL WATERS.
Karen is hitting during the U.S. Government's shutdown, meaning that many who are tasked with informing and protecting us aren't even allowed to go to work. Following the storm, when cleanup occurs, fewer EPA personnel will be assigned to analyze data.
Luckily, Karen doesn't appear to be an Isaac.
10:27 a.m. CDT: Karen should hit Southeastern La. either late tonight or early tomorrow morning. Forecasters now predict that by tomorrow, it will be reclassified as a tropical depression.