MIAMI — Tropical Storm Karen formed in the southeast Gulf of Mexico on Thursday and took aim at the U.S. coast between Louisiana and the Florida Panhandle, forecasters at the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.
Energy companies began evacuating some workers from oil and natural gas platforms in the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday.
Data from an Air Force Reserve “hurricane hunter” plane indicate that a disturbance in the Gulf had organized into a tropical storm with winds up to 60 mph (95 kph), the forecasters said.
“Hurricane and tropical storm watches will be issued for portions of the northern Gulf Coast,” they said, adding that a full advisory would be issued soon.
The storm was moving north-northwest and forecast models showed it hitting the U.S. coast along Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida Panhandle during the weekend.
Locally heavy rains could affect parts of Cuba and Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula in the next couple of days, the forecasters said.