Tropical Storm Karen: A U.S. Threat?

Tropical Storm Karen is swirling across the southern Gulf of Mexico this afternoon just a few ticks below hurricane strength. Not only will it eye a landfall along the central U.S. Gulf Coast this weekend, it could do so at hurricane strength. Hurricane and Tropical Storm Watches remain in place along the Gulf Coast.

Credit: WeatherBug

Credit: WeatherBug

A Hurricane Watch remains in place from Grand Isle, La., eastward to Indian Pass, Florida. A Tropical Storm Watch is also in effect from Grand Isle, La., westward to Morgan City, La., including New Orleans, Lake Maurepas and Lake Pontchartrain. A watch means tropical storm and hurricane force winds, those greater than 39 mph and 74 mph respectively, will develop within the next 48 hours. After 48 hours, outdoor preparations will be difficult or impossible to complete.

Remember, watches are posted when tropical storm conditions, including winds in excess of 39 mph, are possible within 48 hours, making outside preparations difficult or dangerous.

An Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter flying through the area of low pressure located over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico between Cuba and the Yucatan Peninsula found winds of 60 mph, indicating that the system has become a tropical storm this morning.

Photo via flickr - Credit: simminch

Photo via flickr – Credit: simminch

At this time, the biggest threat along the coast will be gusty winds, battering waves and storm surge of 2 to 4 feet. Inland across the rest of the South and Southeast, Karen and its remnants will bring heavy rain on Sunday and Monday. More than 6 inches of rain islikely across southeastern Louisiana, southern Mississippi, southern Alabama, southwestern Georgia and western Florida. This could trigger dangerous flooding.Turn Around, Don’t Drown!

Residents along the Gulf Coast are urged to monitor this system and be prepared for deteriorating weather within the next 24 to 48 hours.

Photo via flickr - Credit: kthypryn

Photo via flickr – Credit: kthypryn

Meanwhile, Jerry has become a depression as it weakens in the Central Atlantic. As of 11 a.m. EDT, Tropical Depression Jerry was located near 31.0 N and 40.2 W, or 890 miles west-southwest of the Azores. This also puts it about 2,200 miles east of Wilmington, N.C. Its maximum sustained winds are 35 mph and it is moving to the northeast at 12 mph.

Shower and thunderstorm activity with Jerry has decreased as potent upper-level winds have led to some weakening of the storm. It will slowly move into cooler water and then accelerate to the northeast ahead of a low pressure system that will move in from the west. Jerry will only remain a threat to shipping lanes.

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