Provisions are being made to safeguard New Orleans, LA through to Indian Pass, Florida as Tropical Storm Karen approaches the Gulf Coast. A hurricane watch is in effect for Grand Isle, Louisiana to Indian Pass, Florida, and a tropical storm watch is in effect for west of Grand Isle to east of Morgan City, Louisiana, metropolitan New Orleans, Lake Maurepas, and Lake Pontchartrain. Though is it unlikely she will carry the strength Hurricane Katrina brought, she is the first tropical storm to intimidate the United States this season.
Karen was located approximately 485 miles south of the Mississippi River near 11 a.m. EST Thursday and had wind speeds of 65 mph, pushing her toward land at a rate of 12 mph. The National Hurricane Center in Miami predicts Karen could become a hurricane as she reaches the Gulf shores Saturday evening if she sustains 74 mph winds.
Karen has aided our economy as she enabled two furloughed employees with the National Hurricane Center to return to work.
Hurricane hunters the country over are lighting up chat boards and forums alike as they anticipate Karen’s arrival and what she’ll bring. Speculation as to how advanced she’ll become has ranged anywhere from a “mild” tropical storm to a full forced hurricane intent on creating havoc in six states. Jokes are being made in regards to how Karen will help bolster our economy, at least temporarily, as she assisted two furloughed employees, top spokesman and FEMA coordinator, in returning to their station at the National Hurricane Center.
Jokes aside the National Hurricane Center isn’t taking Karen lightly and is concerned with her potential. “There’s no ‘just’ in tropical storms,” Dennis Feltgen, Public Affairs Spokesman of the National Hurricane Center, said in an interview Thursday morning. “She has the potential to become a hurricane, and people need to be aware of her possible severity.”
Feltgen also said tropical storm Karen will most likely weaken as she reaches landfall, but that precautions should still be taken.
People are doing just that – taking precautions. With the expected heavy rainfall and storm surge, residents of Grand Isle, LA, approximately 60 miles south of New Orleans, are prepared to evacuate if weather dictates. With last year’s Hurricane Isaac’s destruction as it lingered over Grand Isle for 36 hours still fresh in the resident’s minds, Mayor David Camardelle isn’t taking any chances. He stated the towns 10 pump stations are ready for use, and he has urged residents to clear out storm drains and ditches, and to be ready to leave as heavy rains and high tides are imminent.
“Our forecast calls for it (Tropical Storm Karen) to be right around the border of a hurricane and a tropical storm,” said David Zelinsky, National Hurricane Center meteorologist said in an interview with CBS.
Officials are encouraging residents in areas affected by the tropical storm warnings and hurricane warnings to listen to their local emergency managers and heed the advice as Karen approaches landfall. “Now is the time to begin making preparations,” Zelinsky said.
Written By: Tara Aarness