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Gulf Coast Prepares for Tropical Storm Karen

A soggy weekend is in store for parts of the U.S. Gulf Coast as Tropical Storm Karen churns in the central Gulf of Mexico.
(CNN) -- A soggy weekend is in store for parts of the U.S. Gulf Coast as Tropical Storm Karen churns in the central Gulf of Mexico.

The National Hurricane Center issued a hurricane watch for the area from Grand Isle, Louisiana, to west of Destin, Florida.

The center of the storm is forecast to be near the coast within that area Saturday.

A tropical storm warning is in effect from Grand Isle to the mouth of the Pearl River on the Louisiana-Mississippi line.


"Karen could be near hurricane strength late Friday and early Saturday," the hurricane center said, although the storm's tracking map never shows Karen becoming a hurricane.

The storm prompted the Federal Emergency Management Agency to recall some of its workers, furloughed during the government shutdown.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal declared a statewide state of emergency. Florida Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency in 18 counties.

New Orleans officials released a statement asking residents to "monitor weather conditions and stay alert." The city is included in the tropical storm watch area.
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