Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- Tropical Storm Karen formed Thursday morning in the Gulf Of Mexico, and has gained a little strength over the morning and midday Thursday.
Currently with sustained winds of 65mph, and tracking north-northwest at 12mph, the National Hurricane Center in Miami anticipates a more northward track and slowing of forward speed over the next 48 hours.
Data gathered during a morning flight of a USAF Reserve Hurricane Hunter Aircraft showed Karen to have tropical storm force winds extending outward from the eye 105 miles, with a minimum central pressure of 1004mb, or 29.65 inches.
It is estimated that Karen will gain strength in the next day or so, with possible hurricane-strength winds by Friday, and the expected landfall will be along the Gulf Coast sometime Saturday.
News 19 Meteorologist Amy Aaronson says the NHC has issued a Hurricane Watch for the Grand Isle area of the Louisiana coast, stretching to Indian Pass on the Florida panhandle.
Tropical Storm Watches are in effect from near Morgan City, LA east to Grand Isle, FL. Metropolitan New Orleans is also under a Tropical Storm Watch, as is Lakes Maurepas and Pontchartrain in Louisiana.