The Coast Guard is issuing a warning to Gulf Coast Mariners to prepare for Tropical Storm Karen. Although weakening, the National Hurricane Center is expecting Karen to be near the central Gulf Coast on Saturday.
“Maximum sustained winds have decreases to near 50 mph with higher gusts,” the NHC said in their recent storm advisory. “Little change in strength is expected during the next day or so, with some strengthening possible Saturday night and Sunday.”
According to the NHC, Karen’ center is currently located about 250 miles south-southwest of the Mississippi River and traveling north-northwest at 10 mph. There is still a chance that the storm could reach hurricane force before making landfall, however it has become less likely as Karen has moved towards the Gulf of Mexico.
Meteorologist Jeff Masters told the USA Today that Buras, La., located at the tip of the Mississippi River has a 66-percent chance of experiencing tropical-force winds, the highest odds in the watch area.
Marine traffic at the mouth of the Mississippi River was stopped this morning in advance of the storm.
The Coast Guard is urging mariners and residents in the watch area to stay informed about the storm’s progress and to obey mandatory evacuation orders as they come in. Mariners should seek inland shelter earlier rather than later, as drawbridge operations can cease up to 8 hours before the arrival of gale-force winds.
A hurricane watch is in effect from Grand Isle La. to Destin, Fla. with a tropical extending from Destin to Indian Pass. Lakes Maurepas and Pontchartrain as well as the metropolitan area of New Orleans are also under a storm watch. Additionally, a tropical storm warning is in effect from west of Grand Isle to east of Morgan City, La.
Watches indicate that storm conditions could be present in the designated area within the next 48 hours, while warnings indicate a 36-hour window before storm conditions arrive.
For more information on the port condition in your area please click the below links:
Morgan City – homeport.uscg.mil/morgancity
New Orleans – homeport.uscg.mil/nola
Mobile – homeport.uscg.mil/mobile
For more informaiton on storm or hurricane preparedness, please visit the National Hurricane Center’s Web page at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/