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Tropical Storm Karen Treks North, Heavy Rain Expected Friday Night


After doing the wobble, Tropical Storm Karen is weakening as she continues her trek up the Gulf. But New Orleans remains under tropical storm watch with the system expected to be at the Gulf Coast on Saturday. After rising to 65 mph on Thursday, Karen's maximum winds were reported to 50 mph as of 10 a.m. Friday, according to the National Hurricane Center.

 

She is expected to remain around that strength over the next day, but could intesify again on Saturday night. As of the most recent forecast, Karen is not expected to gain hurricane strength, but winds could reach 65 mph by the time the system is on the doorstep of the coast late on Saturday night.

 

According to a message from NHC forecaster Michael Brennan, dry air and wind shear from the west is cutting into Karen's ability to pick up steam. If that shear decreases, however, she could strengthen again.

 

As of 10 a.m., New Orleans remains near the western edge of the cone of uncertainty. After Karen wobbled a bit, the NHC forecast track pushed to the west, Brennan said. That would bring her closer to Louisiana, but the western push also means the storm would be weaker coming ashore. Forecasters predict the storm would be stronger as it rolled into the Gulf if it were to head east, Brennan said.

 

The current forecast track predicts she will make landfall near the Mississippi-Alabama border early Sunday. However, Southeast Louisiana could start seeing heavy rain and winds on Saturday afternoon, as she passes close to Venice at the tip of the Louisiana coast before turning northeast.

 

The heaviest rains are expected Friday night and Saturday, with New Orlerans predicted to see 2-4 in. of rain. Winds of 25-35 mph are expected, with hurricane force gusts possible. Storm surge could be up to five feet on the coast, but is not expected to rise above three feet in Lake Pontchartrain.

 

Karen is currently located about 250 miles from the mouth of the Mississippi River, and moving northwest at 10 mph. As she approaches the Gulf Coast, weather watchers have Karen turning to the north and slowing down. 

 

In addition to the tropical storm watch for New Orleans, a hurricane watch is in effect along the coast from Grand Isle to Destin, Fla. The hurricane watch could be downgraded later on Friday if the system still shows little sign of strengthening.

 

With the westward shift in the forecast track, a tropical storm warning has been extended west to Morgan City, running to the mouth of the Pearl River at the Louisiana-Mississippi border.




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Renard Boissiere, Evan Z.E. Hammond, Naimonu James, Wilson Koewing, J.A. Lloyd, Nina Luckman, Dead Huey Long, Alexis Manrodt, Joseph Santiago, Andrew Smith, Cynthia Via, Austin Yde

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