A tropical storm near the Yucatan Peninsula in the Gulf of Mexico is expected to intensify as it travels north toward the southern Gulf Coast of the United States, according to the National Weather Service.
Tropical Storm Karen has current wind speeds of 60 mph and is expected to bring 2-4 inches of rain, with hurricane-force gusts possible in hurricane watch areas. The storm could reach land over the weekend somewhere between eastern Louisiana and the Florida panhandle.
Its current trajectory is subject to significant change, the Weather Service says.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency is calling some workers who had been furloughed because of the ongoing government shutdown back to work to prepare for the storm, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Thursday.