Tropical Storm Karen's sustained winds remain at 50 miles per hour, though the National Hurricane System says the latest aircraft reconnaissance shows the system has become more disorganized at this time. However, some strengthening (or weakening) is still possible with Karen.
Forecasters say they still expect Karen to take a turn to the east on a track that may still clip extreme coastal Southeast Louisiana.
In the 4:00 p.m. update, the NHC predicts Karen could still intensify to a 60-mile-per-hour storm as it approaches coastal Louisiana Saturday afternoon and evening. On the current forecast track, Karen will pass near, or over, parts of coastal SE Louisiana around 1:00 o’clock Sunday morning.
Winds over the weekend: WWL-TV Meteorologist Derek Kevra says the Metro New Orleans area could see sustained winds from 25 to 30 miles per hour from Saturday into Sunday, with stronger gusts possible. Coastal areas of SE Louisiana will likely see tropical storm force winds of up to 50 miles per hour, with higher gusts possible.
Tropical storm warnings continue along the Gulf Coast from Morgan City to the Louisiana/Mississippi line. A tropical storm watch continues for Metro New Orleans, St. Tammany, southern Tangipahoa, Lake Pontchartrain, and Lake Maurepas, as well as most of the rest of Southeast Louisiana.
Evacuations: Mandatory evacuations in place for Grand Isle, Lafource below the flood gates, the East Bank of Plaquemines Parish, and parts of the West Bank of Plaquemines Parish outside the levee protection system.
Landfall: Karen is still predicted to make landfall on the Florida Panhandle Sunday. However, the NHC has downgraded the hurricane warning for that area to a tropical storm warning.
Mayor Mitch Landrieu and other local parish/city leaders urged residents to take all precautions as Karen approaches. Karen may bring up to five inches of rain to the Metro area through Sunday, and power outages from winds are also possible. In New Orleans, Landrieu said it will be OK to park on the neutral ground to avoid flooding, but not to park on streetcar lines, under trees, or on tree roots.
Landrieu also asked residents to use common sense as with any storm: Avoid downed power lines, don't walk/drive through standing water, secure items around your home, and check on your neighbors.