NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Tropical Storm Karen stalled off the Louisiana coast Saturday night as a weakened system that still threatened to bring strong wind and heavy rain to vulnerable low-lying areas.
The National Weather Service said Saturday evening that the storm was stationary but still expected to move across or near the southeast Louisiana coast late Saturday or early Sunday, then track eastward and lose strength. It had spent the day either stalled or moving slowly.
The town, roughly 60 miles (96 kilometers) south of New Orleans, remained under a mandatory evacuation order amid worries that the only mainland road in and out might get swamped with water.
The National Hurricane Center in Miami discontinued tropical storm watches across much of the Gulf Coast, including metro New Orleans, but a portion of southeast Louisiana remained under a tropical storm warning.
Karen had maximum sustained winds of 40 mph (65 kph), making it a weak tropical storm. It was about 170 miles (275 kilometers) west-southwest of the mouth of the Mississippi River at 7 p.m. (2300 GMT). It was forecast to track northeastward then travel east while losing tropical-storm status on Sunday.
The National Weather Service said storm surges of 1-to-3 feet (30 centimeters to a meter) were possible along the southeast Louisiana and Mississippi coast, with rainfall accumulations of up to 3 inches (7.6 centimeters) — 6 inches (15 centimeters) in isolated areas — along various spots along the central Gulf Coast.
At the Port of New Orleans, port officials working with the Coast Guard said they were optimistic that vessel traffic at the mouth of the Mississippi River, halted since Friday morning, would resume Sunday. The port remained busy, officials said in a news release, with some of the nine ships at dock there still working cargo. Two Carnival cruise ships that had to delay weekend arrivals were expected Monday.