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Mississippi among 3 states under state of emergency ahead of TS Karen

Infrared satellite image of Tropical Storm Karen early Friday nearing the northern Gulf Coast. (Oct. 4, 2013)
Infrared satellite image of Tropical Storm Karen early Friday nearing the northern Gulf Coast. (Oct. 4, 2013)

In preparation for the approaching Tropical Storm Karen, the governors of Mississippi, Louisiana and Florida all declared states of emergency on Thursday.

Gov. Phil Bryant said that he declared a state of emergency so Mississippi can respond immediately if Karen affects our state.

"Residents should not over react, but this should serve as a reminder to make your storm preparations now. I will continue working with MEMA (Mississippi Emergency Management Agency), the Mississippi National Guard, the Department of Public Safety and other emergency officials to monitor the situation, and we will issue updates as the storm develops."

MEMA Director Robert Latham says Karen could bring high winds and heavy rain to this state. He says people should prepare to leave their homes in advance if they're in flood-prone areas.

Gov. Bobby Jindal cited that Karen is coming up the Yucatan Peninsula and moving slowly toward Louisiana and the Gulf Coast as the reason for real concern. The state of emergency will extend through Nov. 1, unless the government decides to terminate it sooner.

Gov. Rick Scott declared the state of emergency specifically for 18 Florida Panhandle counties in the direct path of Karen.

As of the latest update early Friday, Karen was located less than 295 miles south of the mouth of the Mississippi River with maximum sustained winds of 60 mph. The storm was moving to the northwest at 10 mph.

On the current forecast track, the center of Karen is expected to be near the Gulf Coast on Saturday or Saturday night as a strong tropical storm.

All coastal residents are strongly advised to be prepared to evacuate if ordered in the coming days ahead of this storm.

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