Meridian, Miss. After days of watching a tropical system develop in the Caribbean, the National Hurricane Center officially named it Tropical Storm Karen shortly after their 8:00 AM advisory. At this point, it appears Karen will strengthen into a hurricane before making landfall along the Gulf Coast between New Orleans and Panama City as a Tropical Storm. Lauderdale Emergency Management Agency Director David Sharp says they're watching it, and are in contact with both the National Weather Service and MEMA.
"The question is going to be exactly where it tracks and how much rain is associated with it. If anything, it could be a big rain event for us, which could cause some flash flooding."
One big concern with these types of storms is power outages, and Julie Boles with the East Mississippi Electric Power Association says that they have agreements with other electric power cooperatives to help restore power in hard-hit areas, and this storm is set to make landfall on a special day for them.
"It's very timely. We're celebrating the struggles and the challenges we've faced over the past 75 years, and tropical storms and hurricanes have been a major part of that, so we'll all be together anyway working for our anniversary, so we'll be ready to hit the ground running if restoration efforts are required."
With the shutdown of the federal government, several members of the National Guard are off duty, but Sharp says they could still be deployed.
"On a disaster declaration they would probably be called back in."
In Meridian, Jeff Burrowes, Newscenter 11.