NEW ORLEANS – Karen lost more of its punch late Saturday and fell below tropical storm status while stalling off the Louisiana coast.
Even as a tropical depression with top sustained winds of 35 mph, the system threatened to bring strong wind and heavy rain to vulnerable low-lying areas. However, all watches and warnings were discontinued along the Gulf Coast.
The National Weather Service said Saturday evening that the system was stationary but expected to move across or near the southeast Louisiana coast late Saturday or early today, then track eastward and lose strength. It spent Saturday either stalled or moving slowly.
Karen was centered about 185 miles southwest of the mouth of the Mississippi River.
Forecasters expected little change in the system’s strength over the next 24 hours and that it would turn into a remnant Monday.
The National Weather Service said storm surges of 1 to 3 feet were possible along the southeast Louisiana and Mississippi coast, with rainfall accumulations of up to 3 inches – 6 inches in isolated areas – along various spots along the central Gulf Coast.
Coastal authorities closed flood gates along waterways that could be affected by tides driven by the storm. In New Orleans, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers continued closing barriers designed to keep surge out of the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal, scene of catastrophic flooding in 2005 during Hurricane Katrina.