Tropical Storm Karen threatens to become the first named tropical system to hit the United States this year.

Hurricane and tropical storm watches are in effect from southeast Louisiana to Florida.

Operators are evacuating some oil and gas platforms in the storm’s projected path.

See related story about evacuation of offshore oil and gas platforms.

As of Thursday evening, Karen was 400 miles south of the mouth of the Mississippi River.

Landfall is expected Saturday late afternoon close to the mouth of the Mississippi River before pushing east toward Mobile.

A hurricane watch is in effect from Grand Isle east to Florida. The watch does not include metro New Orleans, Lake Maurepas or Lake Pontchartrain.

Winds as of Thursday were reaching sustained speeds of 65 mph.

Karen is moving north-northwest at 12 mph and is strengthening.

Tropical storms become hurricanes when sustained winds reach 74 mph.



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