Tropical Storm Karen has decreased in speed, sustained winds were reported at 40 miles per hours, but is expected to reach southern Louisiana by Saturday night. Local advisories are in effect and the National Hurricane Center is expecting heavy rain and flooding.
According to the National Hurricane Center report, as of 10:00 a.m. CDT, 11:00 a.m. EDT, Tropical Storm Karen was moving north at 7 mph and 130 miles, 205 kilometers, south/southwest of Morgan City, La. and is expected to reach the southern part of the state by Saturday night into early Sunday. By Sunday, Karen will weaken to a Tropical Depression and it is expected to pass near the coast of Alabama and Mississippi.
A tropical storm warning is in effect for Morgan City to the mouth of Peral River and a tropical storm watch is in effect for metropolitan New Orleans, Lake Maurepas, Lake Pontchartrain and east of Pearl River to Indian Pass, Fla. with reports of evacuations in vulnerable areas. The Associated Press reports 80 residents Plaquemines Parish were evacuated to a local shelter while Lafourche Parish issued a mandatory evacuation for residents in low-lying areas on Friday, reports WWLTV. On Thursday, hurricane warnings were in effect from Louisiana to Florida with the expectation that Karen would become a hurricane but that never happened.
Storm surges are expected along the coast and rainfall accumulations are estimated at one to three inches through Monday evening from the central Gulf Coast and the southeast United States with isolated areas getting up to six inches of rain. The NHC advises residents in the tropical storm warning area to continue preparing for heavy winds and rains and evacuate if directed.
Rick Knabb, the director of the National Hurricane Center, said to the AP, "This is certainly something that you can remain safe in — it's a lot weaker than it was, no chance of it becoming a hurricane — as long as you follow advice from local officials." The next intermediary advisory is scheduled for 1 p.m. CDT, 2 p.m. EDT, with a full advisory scheduled for 4:00 p.m. CDT, 5:00 p.m. EDT.