Karen weakening, remains a minimal tropical storm - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Karen weakening, remains a minimal tropical storm

According to the National Hurricane Center's 1 p.m. CT forecast, Tropical Storm Karen is expected to make landfall Saturday somewhere between Louisiana and the Florida Panhandle. (Source: National Weather Service) According to the National Hurricane Center's 1 p.m. CT forecast, Tropical Storm Karen is expected to make landfall Saturday somewhere between Louisiana and the Florida Panhandle. (Source: National Weather Service)
The Destin Seafood Festival is one of the events that has been canceled because of the storm threat. (Source: WEAR/CNN) The Destin Seafood Festival is one of the events that has been canceled because of the storm threat. (Source: WEAR/CNN)

(RNN) - Tropical Storm Karen continues to weaken in the Gulf and is now a minimal tropical storm.

The latest forecast from the National Hurricane Center shows Karen is producing 40 mile per hour winds, down from 45 miles per hour.

Wind shear is taking its toll on the storm and the National Weather Service says tropical storms rarely recover after being so damaged by wind shear.

If Karen's winds drop to 38 miles per hour, she'll be declared a tropical depression.

The storm's forward speed has slowed, which is expected to cause a turn to the northeast. Karen is moving a 7 miles per hour toward the north-northwest.

Tropical storm force winds stretched out 140 miles from the center.

A hurricane watch has been downgraded to a tropical storm watch from Grand Isle, LA and is in effect to west of Destin, FL.

A tropical storm watch is also in effect for metropolitan New Orleans, Lake Maurepas, Lake Pontchartrain and Destin, FL, to Indian Pass, FL.

Storm surge could impact the immediate coast near and to the east of the expected landfall site, which is expected anywhere from east Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle.

Strong winds, heavy rainfall and the potential for localized flooding extend far inland over the southeastern U.S.

In response to the oncoming storm, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley declared states of emergency. Florida Gov. Rick Scott declared an emergency in 18 counties.

The storm is expected to produce one to three inches of rain along the Gulf Coast and the Southeast through Monday, with isolated amounts of up to six inches possible in some places.

Some Federal Emergency Management Agency were taken off of furlough Thursday to help respond to Karen.

Copyright 2013 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

bout 295 miles (470 kilometers) south of the mouth of the Mississippi River
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