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Tropical Storm Karen Forms in Gulf of Mexico

Tropical Storm Karen has formed in the Gulf of Mexico and will move into the southern United States this weekend with heavy rain, gusty winds and rough seas.

Karen will continue to move along a curved northward path over the central Gulf of Mexico through Friday and will most likely make landfall along the upper Gulf Coast Saturday night.

There is a chance Karen becomes a hurricane before making landfall.

Near and just east of where Karen makes landfall, minor coastal flooding is possible. Wind gusts in the neighborhood of 60 mph can cause minor property damage, downed trees and power outages.

Showers and thunderstorms will become more frequent from the Florida Panhandle to southeastern Louisiana Saturday.

As Karen strengthens, seas will gradually build over the central and eastern Gulf of Mexico.

As seas build, the frequency and strength of rip currents will increase along with the possibility of beach erosion.

Rainfall can be heavy enough to alleviate recent dry conditions in some locations of the South and may raise the risk of flooding for parts of the region this weekend.

A pocket of 3- to 6-inch rainfall can occur close to the center of the storm track.

Sometimes as tropical systems make landfall, tornadoes can be produced. This is also a possibility at this point, near and east of the landfall.

Showers and thunderstorms with this system have been barely spinning across the southern and central Caribbean since early in the week.

Through Wednesday, disruptive winds had been an inhibiting factor in development.

This weekend over the mainland United States, a strong cold front will move across the Mississippi Valley then toward the Appalachians.

This will help pull the moisture from this Gulf of Mexico system northward and enhance rainfall from the Gulf coast to part of the interior South.

The aforementioned cold front will eventually bring showers and some thunderstorms to the mid-Atlantic and Northeast late on Sunday into Monday.

There is a chance that moisture from Karen enhances the rainfall across parts of the mid-Atlantic and New England early next week, where the rain is most needed and the weather of late has been more like summer.

Content contributed by Alex Sosnowski, expert senior meteorologist.