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Tropical Storm Karen Forms

UPDATE 4PM: Winds still at 65. Moving NNW at 12mph. Pressure down to 999 mb. Worst weather for the MS/AL/FL Gulf Coast from Sat PM to Sun PM.

UPDATE 2:50PM:
Lousiana Governor Bobby Jindal has declared a state of emergency as Tropical Storm Karen swirls in the Gulf.

UPDATE 2PM:
We continue to track Tropical Storm Karen in the southern Gulf. The storm has not looked impressive on satellite through the day Thursday due to dry air and wind shear interacting with the storm.

It will continue to move northward toward the northern Gulf Coast through Friday night, then begin a turn toward the northeast by Saturday.

This would bring the system through parts of our area, with the emphasis being on the eastern portions of the region from Baldwin Co. and points east into Florida and southeast Alabama.

Through tonight, the forecast looks fine. Partly cloudy skies with a stray shower or two. Lows will fall to around 70. Sunny skies can be expected Friday, with a slight chance of a storm or two.

Sinking air around the periphery of Karen should keep precipitation to a minimum most of the day. By Friday night weather will start turning sour offshore with building seas and increasing winds from the east.

A few showers will be possible by Saturday morning. By Saturday morning, Karen should be just south of the area, perhaps a bit to the southeast near the Louisiana coast. This is when the turn northeast should begin.

By this time, a large dip in the jet stream aloft called a trough will start impinging on the system. This will create increasing wind shear as well as aid in pushing the storm east. This shear should limit any strengthening or perhaps weaken the storm.

Also, waters over the shelf near the coast are warm but shallow. This should also limit intensification.

Nonetheless, we are expecting a low to mid grade tropical storm to make an approach toward the coast by Saturday night into Sunday. Minor coastal flooding, gusty winds, periods of heavier showers will be possible with the storm, particularly east of the track.

Usually with storms making landfall that experience strong westerly wind shear, most of the worst weather stays east of the track and this should be the case with Karen. This will ultimately depend on the track but if the center of the storm moves over Mobile and Baldwin Co., the worst weather will stay east of our area into northwest Florida including the threat for spin-up tornadoes.

By Sunday evening conditions will rapidly improve as a cold front helps push whats left of Karen well east of the area. Dry weather and sunshine will return for most of next week, with highs around 80 early in the week, to the mid 80s by Thursday. Lows will drop into the 50s away from the coast most nights next week.

UPDATE 10AM
: Winds are up to 65. Moving NNW. Karen's track remains unchanged. Forecast to be near Brewton, Ala. by Sunday morning with winds just below hurricane force.


MOBILE, Ala. (WPMI) Tropical Storm Karen has formed as it enters the Gulf of Mexico. Hurricane Hunters were able to find a closed circulation and winds of 60 mph. Watches and warnings are expected for the Northern Gulf Coast later today.

Local impacts will depend on the strength and path of Karen, but we are expecting impacts. Landfall can be anywhere from SE Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle.

Today, expect isolated afternoon showers with highs reaching the mid 80s. Friday brings more rain as Karen's outer rain bands get closer. Saturday and Sunday will bring periods of rain, high rip current risk, coastal flooding, and maybe a severe threat..stay tuned.

CLICK HERE to visit our Hurricane Center page with the most updated information.
 
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