The National Hurricane Center reported on Friday that though tropical storm Karen has weakened slightly, it is still on course to make landfall in the middle Gulf Coast region of the United States late Saturday or early Sunday.
The storm presently has maximum sustained winds of 50 miles per hour. As of 11:00 am EDT Friday Karen was 250 miles south-southwest of the mouth of the Mississippi River and it is moving north-northwest at 10 miles per hour. Karen is expected turn to the north by early Saturday and by late Saturday to early Sunday it is expected to be moving in a northeast direction.
Due to the possibility of the storm strengthening into a hurricane, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) has issued a hurricane watch for the Gulf Coast region from Grand Isle, La. to west of Destin, Fla. However, the NHC did say that the hurricane watch could be downgraded to a tropical storm watch later on Friday.
A tropical storm warning has been issued from Morgan City, La. to the mouth of the Pearl River which borders Louisiana and Mississippi.
Meanwhile, a tropical storm watch has been issued for the New Orleans metropolitan area, Lake Maurepas, Lake Pontchartrain, and Destin, Fla. to Indian Pass, Fla.
According to the NHC bulletin, “A tropical storm warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area within 36 hours,” while, “A tropical storm watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area, generally within 48 hours.”
Despite the ongoing federal shutdown due to the refusal of the republican-controlled House of Representatives to allow a vote on a temporary six-week clean continuing resolution to fund the government, FEMA has stated that it is ready to meet possible gulf state needs resulting from Karen.