Tropical Storm Karen formed in the southeast Gulf of Mexico on Thursday and is headed for the U.S., between Louisiana and the Florida Panhandle, forecasters at the U.S. National Hurricane Center told the Associated Press.
Energy companies began evacuating some workers from oil and natural gas platforms in the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday as a result of Tropical Storm Karen.
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Data from an Air Force Reserve "hurricane hunter" plane indicate that a disturbance in the Gulf had organized into Tropical Storm Karen with winds up to 60 mph, 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.
Tropical Storm Karen 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.
Last month, Tropical Storm Gabrielle boomed over Puerto Rico
but soon fizzled out. Gabrielle was the seventh named storm of the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season, which has yet to record a hurricane. Tropical Storm Kiko,
another one, hit South California in September as well.
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