JACKSON, Miss. Tropical Storm Karen continues to weaken in the Gulf this morning and has maximum winds of about 40 miles per hour.
National Weather Service Meteorologist Mike Edmondson says the storm is expected to remain a tropical storm over the next 48 hours and will likely make landfall early Sunday morning. “Generally speaking, it’s on a path to go across the mouth of the Mississippi River and anywhere along the Mississippi-Louisiana coastal line, all away across to Panama City or Apalachicola, FL on the far eastern part. But it looks like the center line will go close to Mobile or Pensacola late Sunday early into Monday.”
A Tropical Storm Watch is in affect for Coastal Mississippi. Those counties in that area will see the worst conditions with some storm surge, wind and rain likely. “But as you get up into Jackson’s warning area, Forrest and Lamar counties, we are still expecting to see some impact,” he said. “It will be some heavy rain, maybe one to two inches of soaking across southeast Mississippi during the next 24 hours.”
The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency is continuing to monitor the storm. Agency Director Robert Latham is on the coast right now. “One of our priorities is to continue outreach for our visitors to special events on the coast this weekend to make sure they are prepared,” Latham said. “That being said, all forecasts are showing this will be a quick moving system and should clear our area by Sunday which will allow events like ‘Cruisin’ on the Coast’ to go on as planned.”
MEMA issues the following updates on state and local actions in response to Karen:
- MDOT moving equipment (front end loaders, bull dozers, etc.) to the coast to stage them; mmediately after the storm they can start removing sand from U.S. Highway 90.
- Miss. Department of Humans Services county directors in the potentially affected counties are working closely with local EMA Directors and Red Cross to open and staff shelters as requested.
- Sandbags and sand are available for Harrison County residents at city barns. These locations include the work center on Lorraine Road and the Public Works Department at 4050 Hewes Ave in Gulfport.
- American Red Cross staff is communicating with local emergency managers and Department of Human Services to coordinate shelter openings if needed. Volunteers, shelter teams, and 11 emergency response vehicles have been placed on alert.
- Mississippi Emergency Management agency supplying sandbags, water and tarps to the coast from the MEMA EOC in Pearl.
- Request for Sandbags from Jackson (20K), Harrison (15K) and Pearl River (5K) Counties have been completed.
- Search and Rescue teams have been sent to support Jackson, Harrison and Hancock counties.
- State Emergency Response Team has deployed to the Combat Readiness Training Center in Gulfport.
- 300 Mississippi National Guard troops with high water vehicles have been deployed to affected areas.
No shelters have been opened just yet.