Tropical Storm Karen, steadily losing strength to dry Gulf air and shearing winds, and stalled for over a day off the coast, shrunk to a tropical depression late Saturday and then dissipated into a remnant storm Sunday morning.
The remnants of Karen are located about 85 miles southwest of the mouth of the Mississippi River, moving east at about 13 mph with sustained winds topping out at 30 mph. The National Hurricane Center says the storm remnants will move in a generally eastward direction for the next day or two.
A GOES satellite handout photo provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows Tropical Storm Karen churning in the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday afternoon. Karen, the second named storm to hit the U.S. this hurricane season, has weakened into a tropical depression.
Originally published on Sun October 6, 2013 8:50 am
Karen, once feared to hit the U.S. Gulf Coast as a hurricane, has stalled out and weakened into a tropical depression. The National Weather Service says the storm is "drifting" at 2 mph, moving toward Louisiana's southeastern edge. As of early Sunday morning, it was about 165 miles west-southwest of the mouth of the Mississippi River.
Louisiana health officials say they are reopening some oyster harvest areas where the threat of flooding from Tropical Storm Karen has diminished.
Louisiana harvest areas 13 to 23 will open Sunday morning. They were among the areas ordered closed because of the possibility of contamination from flood waters.
Saturday's announcement said a precautionary closure of oyster harvest areas one through 12 would remain in effect until health officials determine the waters meet standards set by the National Shellfish Sanitation Program.
Tropical storm Karen weakened more overnight, according to the National Hurricane Center.
The storm, now with maximum sustained winds of 40 mph, and moving north at just 2 mph, has been sheared apart by dry Gulf winds and is being steered further by a cold front moving eastward through the central US.
The Port of New Orleans says workers are preparing for Tropical Storm Karen, but cargo operations are continuing uninterrupted, despite the closure of Southwest Pass at the mouth of the Mississippi River.
However, Carnival Cruise Line ships scheduled to arrive at the port this weekend may be delayed until Monday, the port and the cruise company are saying. Guests aboard the Carnival Elation and the Carnival Conquest are being kept apprised of the storm, and both vessels are said to be sailing a safe distance from the storm.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development has suspended toll collections at La. 1 in Leeville in response to the mandatory evacuation of Grand Isle, the agency announced this afternoon.
DOTD says the tolls have been suspended in order to facilitate emergency and protective services and evacuation as Tropical Storm Karen approaches the coast. The agency will make an announcement when tolls are scheduled to resume.