October 6, 2013
Tropical Storm Karen Downgraded, But Still Packs A Punch For Gulf Coast

Former Tropical Storm Karen is weakening as it approaches the Gulf Coast, but still has the potential to bring heavy rain and flooding to the area.

The storm system is expected to decrease in speed as it moves toward the northern Gulf Coast. The storm was moving at 10 miles per hour with maximum winds of 40 miles per hour on Saturday, but by Sunday the top winds were down to 30 miles per hour.

On Saturday forecasters downgraded Tropical Storm Karen to a depression, but have warned that it could still affect a large swath of the United States.

Tropical storm watches were in effect for the New Orleans area and eastward to Indian Pass, Florida, but they were discontinued after the storm was downgraded to a depression.

The storm was expected to move over parts of southeastern Louisiana later in the day on Sunday, then move toward Mississippi, Alabama, and the Florida Panhandle in the next few hours.

Weather forecasters believe the former Tropical Storm Karen will dump 1 to 3 inches of rain over the central Gulf Coast and southeastern United States through Monday, with some locations receiving up to 6 inches.

Gulf Coast residents were preparing for the storm this weekend. In Lafitte, Louisiana, a town hard-hit by flooding in the past, workers were lining sandbags in the lower sections of the town.

"We've been preparing for the water, if it does come up. We've moved everything, and we're just getting prepared," resident April Terrebonne told The Associated Press.

The former Tropical Storm Karen had many residents seeking shelter. In Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, about 80 evacuees went to a public shelter to get out of the path of expected flooding.