Flood Warning expires at 10:04 PM on 4/24, issued at 10:04 PM Blackshear, GA | Bristol, GA | Mershon, GA | Millwood, GA

Ryan Smith Blog: Tracking Karen

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Updated: 10/04/2013 10:41 pm
DAUPHIN ISLAND, Ala. -- Emergency management officials are bracing for the effects of Tropical Storm Karen along Alabama's coastline.

Action News traveled 450 miles to track the storm over the weekend as it moves closer to the Gulf coast.

Waves crashing along the shores on Dauphin Island were signs something was brewing in the Gulf.

It's the calm before the storm, said Mobile County Emergency Management Director John Kilcullen.

"Definitely not the time to go out into the water," said Kilcullen. "The marine environment is going to get worse. We are going to experience the effects more than anybody else."

Kilcullen predicts the quiet will pass this weekend as Karen churns toward the coastline.

It's predicted to create surf 4 to 6 feet higher than ground level during times of high tide.

TS Karen could dump up to 5 inches on the barrier island. That means flooding is a major concern.

Mobile County emergency management officials spent part of Friday afternoon forming a strategy with the state agency charged with preparing for evacuations during severe weather.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley issued an emergency declaration late Friday. Bentley also activated 180 members of the Nation Guard to be on standby this weekend.

"I think it's a precautionary move on the governor's part to be sure we have resources in place to react and respond."

Fisherman canceled their trips and prepared to take a loss because of the storm.

"Definitely comes with the territory," one snapper fisherman said. "About every other year you're going to have to make a run for it. You can't let it get to you because it is just part of it."

The threat of TS Karen forced organizers of the 19th annual Bayfest Music Festival to close three stages due to the storm's unpredictable effects. The music festival is happening this weekend in Mobile.

Two storms affected the area during the 2012 hurricane season. "Isaac" caused substantial flooding and erosion.
The drive to Pascagoula, Mississippi. (Ryan Smith)
The drive to Pascagoula, Mississippi. (Ryan Smith)
PASCAGOULA, MS -- We've hit the road tracking Tropical Storm Karen as it churns toward the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Our destination is Pascagoula, MS, a city located about 40 miles southwest of Mobile.

I spoke with emergency management officials in Jackson County who told me they issued a local emergency at 8 a.m. in anticipation of heavy flooding.

Emergency management officials have not yet made any plans for evacuations or set up shelters. In preparation for this weekend's storm, they have posted eleven sandbag stations throughout the county.

Jackson County is no stranger to severe storms. It was ravaged by Hurricane Katrina. According to some reports, the city of Pascagoula was more than 90 percent under water.

Count on Action News to follow the storm as it makes landfall.

To track Karen, download the new First Alert Weather iPad App. It's free in the i-Tunes store.
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