Hurricane watch canceled for Karen
NEW ORLEANS - The National Weather Service canceled a hurricane watch along the Gulf Coast for Tropical Storm Karen Friday afternoon.
The National Hurricane Center changed it to a tropical storm watch instead for the New Orleans metro, Lake Maurepas, Lake Pontchartrain, and east of the Pearl River's mouth to Indian Pass, Fla.
A tropical storm warning is also in effect from Morgan City to the mouth of the Pearl River.
Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida declared states of emergency. The Federal Emergency Management Agency and Interior Department recalled workers who were furloughed because of the government shutdown.
River traffic at the mouth of the Mississippi has been stopped as Karen approaches the Gulf. It's expected to bring strong winds and rainfall of 3 to 6 inches through Sunday night.
Forecast tracks show it possibly brushing or crossing the southeast Louisiana coast before veering eastward toward southern Alabama and the Florida panhandle.
Earlier Friday officials in Grand Isle issued a mandatory evacuation for residents of the barrier island. State transportation officials said tolls on La. 1 at Leeville were suspended to aid with the evacuation and emergency response.
For the latest on conditions in the Gulf, visit our Hurricane Center page.