Hurricane Watch downgraded to a Tropical Storm Watch

Hurricane Watch downgraded to a Tropical Storm Watch

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Tropical Storm Karen is now expected to make landfall sometime late Sunday morning or early Sunday afternoon. Source: WBRC Tropical Storm Karen is now expected to make landfall sometime late Sunday morning or early Sunday afternoon. Source: WBRC
Seven day forecast. Source: WBRC Seven day forecast. Source: WBRC
The double red flags are flying at Gulf Shores, meaning the water is closed to the public and extremely hazardous conditions are expected. Source: Fred Hunter/WBRC The double red flags are flying at Gulf Shores, meaning the water is closed to the public and extremely hazardous conditions are expected. Source: Fred Hunter/WBRC
Crews are putting up fences along the beaches in Gulf Shores to help keep the sand on the beach once the storm hits. Source: Fred Hunter/WBRC Crews are putting up fences along the beaches in Gulf Shores to help keep the sand on the beach once the storm hits. Source: Fred Hunter/WBRC
The latest coastal flood potential map due to Tropical Storm Karen. Source: NWS in Mobile The latest coastal flood potential map due to Tropical Storm Karen. Source: NWS in Mobile
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

The National Weather Service has downgraded the Hurricane Watch in effect for the Gulf Coast to a Tropical Storm Watch.

Tropical Storm Karen weakened overnight and isn't expected to strengthen into a category one hurricane.

The storm's winds dropped to 60 mph during the night and are now around 50 mph. Fox6 Chief Meteorologist J-P Dice says Karen's impact across Central Alabama will be "very minimal" with a few scattered showers and breezy conditions on Sunday.

Unlike the forecast from earlier in the week, Karen is not expected to affect the weather during Alabama's college football games on Saturday. No rain is expected in Tuscaloosa, Auburn or Birmingham this Saturday.

The latest reports from the National Hurricane Center show Karen's track shifting more to the west. It's likely the storm will clip Louisiana's coastal islands and make landfall near Baldwin County late Sunday morning or early Sunday afternoon.

The storm is currently about 275 miles south-southeast of Morgan City, Louisiana with maximum wind speeds of 50 mph.

Dice says at this point, it's still hard to tell where Karen may hit land, but it could be Pensacola or further east along the coast.

Central Alabama will likely see some rain on Sunday from an approaching cold front that will move Karen to the northeast, across Georgia and into the Carolinas. After Sunday, expect a great week of autumn weather with highs in the 70s and lows in the 50s, with mostly clear to partly cloudy skies.

The Gulf Coast could get as much as 4-5" of rain as well as a five foot storm surge. Crews are placing fences and other barriers on the beach to keep the sand on the shoreline and off of parking lots and roads.

The City of Gulf Shores has posted a double red flag warning, meaning the water is closed to the public. The double red flags indicate extremely hazardous conditions are present or expected and no one should swim in the ocean.

Dice says once the storm makes landfall, it will likely move northeast and impact south Alabama and Georgia. Enterprise, Dothan, Troy and Ozark could see heavy rains and gusty winds from the storm.

The City of Gulf Shores says that the 42nd annual Shrimp Festival planned for next week will go on as planned, since it doesn't start until October 10.

Stay with Fox6 and MyFoxAL.com for more updates as the storm progresses.

 

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