National Weather Service predicts how Karen could affect the coast

Staff Writer
The Destin Log
A satellite view of Karen from Thursday.

This from the National Weather Service Mobile in a noon Friday bulletin.

Tropical Storm Karen snapshot

·         Karen still struggling a bit with drier air aloft and wind shear. 

·        Intensity dropped back to 50 mph on the 10 AM update. Some minor strengthening is forecast over the next day as it starts to turn northeast.

·        The environmental window for Karen to significantly strengthen to a hurricane is starting to close.  Some strengthening is expected over the next 24 hours based on what we see right now…but the environment is less conducive for rapid significant development.

·       Hurricane Watch is still in effect along the coast.  That will be re-evaluated this afternoon by NWS forecasters and may be replaced with a Tropical Storm Watch if current trends hold and no rapid strengthening is seen or forecasted.  Stay tuned this afternoon for the latest information on that. 

·        The timing of the cold front moving in from the northwest will complicate exactly where Karen makes landfall and how strong it will be at landfall. Still a low confidence forecast on exactly where Karen will make landfall.  Expect additional shifts in the track

Potential Impacts:

·        Heavy Rainfall:  2 to 4 inches Friday through Sunday with locally higher amounts 4 to 8 inches possible.   Heaviest rainfall will be near the coast.  

o   Mostly flooding of poor drainage areas and smaller stream basins. 

o   Shoal Creek in Florida currently at action stage…only larger river system right now of concern that possibly could approach minor flood stage.  

·         Wind Impacts:  40 to 50 mph winds (35 to 45 kts) possible over the marine area late Saturday night into early Sunday morning…especially in squalls with bands of thunderstorms.  Tropical storm force winds at the coast Sunday morning. This is slower in timing than previous forecasts.  

·         Coastal Flooding…Storm Surge and Tide Levels:  Stronger East to Southeast winds late Saturday into Sunday could produce 3 to 4 feet inundation flooding over land…mainly Alabama Coast and westward.  1 to 3 feet inundation over the western Florida Panhandle.  Astronomical high tide is during the evening hours.

·         Beaches:  Expect a HIGH RISK FOR DANGEROUS RIP CURRENTS through Sunday.  Also beach erosion with higher wave run-up possible through Sunday.  High tide for this event will be during the evening hours.