Tropical Depression Karen Information


We will be updating this post through the next few days as Tropical Storm Depression Karen moves north toward the Gulf Coast. Scroll down below the track and links for the latest updates from WHNT News 19.

Some links for instant tracking information and news:

NHC Forecast Track
Excessive Rainfall Potential
GOES IR Satellite Loop (Floater)
GOES Visible Satellite Loop (Floater)
NWS Mobile
NWS New Orleans/Baton Rouge
NWS Tallahassee

Tropical Storm Karen forcing South Alabama to hurry up the harvest at

Brandon Chambers October 5, 20139:41 pm

The “10PM” update from the National Hurricane Center downgrades Karen to a tropical depression with sustained winds of only 35mph. No tropical watches or warnings are currently in effect.

Karen is stationary at the moment, but will soon head east skirting the Gulf Coast as a weakening depression before dissolving into an area of low pressure by Monday. The main concerns for the Southern Alabama and the Florida panhandle remain stormy weather, above normal tides, and rip currents.

Brandon Chambers October 5, 20133:48 pm

As of 3:40PM… The Hurricane Center is keeping Karen designated as a weak tropical storm with maximum sustained winds of 40mph. The storm is expected to make a right (easterly) turn overnight and weaken to a tropical depression sometime on Sunday

All tropical storm watches have been dropped. The main concerns for the Gulf Coasts of Florida and Alabama will be sustained winds of 30 to 35mph gusting to about 45mph, high tides and rip-currents.

Jennifer Watson October 5, 201310:40 am

Tropical Storm Karen is barely holding on as it
nears the northern Gulf Coast. Maximum sustained winds remain at 40 mph.
Karen will likely weaken into a depression before moving inland over
southeast Louisiana late tonight, before moving into late Sunday. 
Despite the weakening Karen, high surf and dangerous rip currents will
continue along the coastline.

Jason Simpson October 4, 20139:32 pm

It’s a safe bet that Tropical Storm Karen will not be a major storm on the Alabama or Florida Gulf Coasts.  That’s not to say it won’t cause some problems; windy, rainy weather is no picnic, and some gusts could still top out over 50 MPH.  These two maps tell a lot of the story: cooler water temperatures in front of it (70-73º F) and a lot of dry air on the west side reducing thunderstorm development.  I’d be surprised if there is a wind gust higher than 55 MPH on the Florida or Alabama coast; that means the storm in the Plains producing snow and severe weather should be the attention-getter instead of the tropical system.

Jason Simpson October 4, 20138:41 pm

Midday GFDL model keeps Karen just at tropical storm intensity as it makes landfall Sunday; this model’s track is slightly north and west of the NHC track, but it’s a good idea of how the storm could behave.

Brandon Chambers October 4, 20135:52 pm

The 4:00PM update from the National Hurricane Center has Karen producing maximum sustained winds of 50mph with gusts to 65mph with NNW movement at 5mph. The NHC is still expecting close to a 50% chance for sustained winds over 40mph from New Orleans to Panama City as it makes landfall on Sunday.

The hurricane watch has been downgraded to a tropical storm watch.

Jason Simpson October 4, 20133:47 pm

Maximum sustained winds still at 50 MPH; no sign of strengthening with the last update from NHC.  If you’re wondering about impacts at the beach and our weather here, click over to …we have information for the beach, college football games, and the rainy Sunday.

Jason Simpson October 4, 20133:10 pm

Interesting stat from the winter storm in South Dakota via @trobec (Jay Trobec).  The October snow storm may end up being the windier, more destructive of the two big weather makers (itself and Tropical Storm Karen).

Interstate 90 now closed from Wall, SD to the Wyoming border. Recent wind gusts: Wall 59 mph, Rapid City downtown 68 mph.

Jason Simpson October 4, 20132:56 pm

Governor Bentley declares a State of Emergency:

MONTGOMERY – Alabama Governor Robert Bentley on Friday declared a statewide State of Emergency in anticipation of heavy rains and high winds likely to result from Tropical Storm Karen.  With landfall of a tropical system, tornadoes are possible.  Parts of Alabama could be placed under tornado watches or warnings.

“Residents and businesses along Alabama’s coast should monitor weather conditions and be prepared for whatever this tropical storm may bring,” Governor Bentley said.  “By declaring this state of emergency, I am mobilizing the resources our communities need as the storm approaches.”

“The Governor’s issuance of the State of Emergency places Alabama National Guard members and all emergency response agencies on alert for the potential impact of Tropical Storm Karen,” says Alabama EMA Director Art Faulkner.

Governor Bentley, along with AEMA Director Art Faulkner briefed local officials Friday afternoon by conference call on the current efforts of state agencies to monitor the track of Tropical Storm Karen.   By declaring a State of Emergency, Governor Bentley is directing the activation of the Alabama Emergency Operations Plan.  Governor Bentley is also directing the appropriate state agencies to exercise their statutory authority to assist the communities and entities affected by the storm.  The Alabama Emergency Management Agency is also authorized to make appropriate assessments of damages following the storm.

Jason Simpson October 4, 20132:25 pm

Karen’s low level center of circulation is exposed.  All of the heavy tropical thunderstorms are well east of the center; that is a sign of a somewhat disorganized system that won’t be strengthening much.  Again, if you’ve got beach plans at the Gulf Coast of Alabama or Florida, the surf will be rough this weekend, but Sunday looks to be the windy, wet day with some wind gusts over 50 MPH possible.

Jason Simpson October 4, 201312:04 pm

The cold front moving into the Valley on Sunday gives us our best shot at some rain and thunderstorms.  While severe weather is unlikely, a few spots are going to get some good soaking rain.  This is the latest rainfall forecast guidance from WPC (NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center).  It is model-derived, so it’s still “guidance”…not an exact prediction.

Jason Simpson October 4, 201312:00 pm

The morning model suite is positive news for the Gulf Coast.  Karen is weaker today (winds at 45 MPH last update), and it should stay at Tropical Storm strength or weaken below it as it approaches the north central Gulf Coast on Sunday morning.  Here’s the model guidance; we still look for the greatest potential for heavy rain from to be a little south of the Tennessee Valley.  There is a chance a few spots could still get more than an inch of rain on Sunday and Monday.

Jason Simpson October 3, 201310:04 pm

As expected, the NAM is the outlier amongst the more trustworthy models.  Karen still a tropical storm this evening headed north-northwest.  There is a chance it could become a hurricane, but it’s not a good one.  We think it will probably stay a tropical storm (possibly briefly strengthening into a hurricane before weakening again).

Jason Simpson October 3, 20139:33 pm

The evening run of the NAM (which is notoriously bad at forecasting tropical cyclones) is shifting it farther west toward the Louisiana Gulf Coast.  If that happens, it throws a monkey wrench in the whole forecast for the weekend by delaying the cold front and sending most of the rain into the Tennessee Valley later Sunday into Monday.  We’ll watch and see if this is a trend with the more robust global models that typically do a better job with storms of this type.