What was once a viable tropical threat early last week has fizzled into a threat of gale-force winds and a lot of rain. Tropical Storm Karen has weakened into a disheveled, stationary cyclone in the Gulf of Mexico as of Saturday afternoon. Although there are still many possibilities, the likelihood of a direct hit of rain and wind on Long Island has dwindled significantly.
Karen was barely a tropical storm with max sustained winds of 40 mph at 2 P.M. Saturday. Its asymmetrical look on satellite pictures indicate a storm ripped up by shear high up in the atmosphere, and nothing else to go on as it heads toward the U.S. Gulf Coast. No intensification is expected until landfall, and its tropical moisture will be absorbed by a cold front heading east across the mainland into Monday.
Into Sunday morning, Karen may take an easterly track along the coast and finally move over land later in the day. This eastward swing has been a frequent computer model solution for a few runs. The storm dissipates into the frontal boundary on Monday. This track is from the National Hurricane Center's latest forecasts.
As the front nears the East Coast, moisture rides northward. The Saturday afternoon updates of the two American models show this heavier rain die out and/or stay west of New York City. At some point Monday night, rain does come through Long Island with the front.
While this becomes the forecast for how Long Island feels the remnants of Karen, it may not be set in stone. When dealing with tropical cyclones, even the last remaining thunderstorm clusters can be difficult to predict, by computer or human. But as time passes, and Karen remains a shell of her former self, the likelihood of big rain and wind for Long Island early next week nears zero.