Tropical Storm Karen continued chugging toward the northern Gulf Coast, with forecasters predicting rain, potential flooding, and a decrease in speed later in the day. The National Hurricane Center reported early today that Karen's maximum sustained winds had dropped to 40 mph, making it a weak tropical storm. It was moving north at 10 mph, and center forecasters said in their advisory that they expect Karen to decrease in speed later today and turn toward the northeast.
A tropical storm warning is in effect from Morgan City, La., to the mouth of the Pearl River, which forms part of the border between Louisiana and Mississippi. A tropical storm watch covers the New Orleans area and a stretch from east of the Pearl River's mouth to Indian Pass, Fla. Forecasters expect the storm's center to be in the warning area tonight or tomorrow morning. Rain accumulations of 1 to 3 inches over the central Gulf Coast and southeastern US are possible through Monday night. At the hurricane center in Miami, forecasters said the storm no longer had a chance of strengthening into a hurricane. (Click to read about forecasters' coded plea to Congress.)