Tropical Storm Karen formed Thursday morning in the Gulf of Mexico and is expected to strike the Gulf Coast this weekend.
Karen has weakened over the past 12 hours and now has sustained winds only at 50 mph as it moves to the NNW at 9 mph. Hurricane watches, tropical storm watches and tropical storm warnings are currently in effect and can be found here.
As far as further intensification, here is a statement from within the NHC's latest forecast discussion,
"THE ENVIRONMENT DOES NOT LOOK FAVORABLE FOR SIGNIFICANT INTENSIFICATION...WITH MODERATE SHEAR EXPECTED TO CONTINUE FOR THE NEXT DAY OR TWO. HOWEVER...IF THE SHEAR DOES LESSEN...EVEN FOR A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME...DEEP CONVECTION COULD RE-DEVELOP CLOSER TO THE CENTER AND ALLOW FOR SOME INTENSIFICATION. IN ADDITION...BY 48 HOURS UPPER-LEVEL DIVERGENCE AHEAD OF AN APPROACHING MID/UPPER-LEVEL TROUGH COULD ALLOW FOR SOME
Because of this, the NHC official forecast keeps Karen below hurricane strength through landfall, and Karen will weaken considerably as it moves inland this weekend.
- Tropical Storm Karen 11am forecast track
The latest intensity forecast throughout the models also depicts this. Remember, yesterday's model suite only had two members bringing the storm to hurricane strength, so it appears the majority won out, although a little strengthening to a high end tropical storm is still possible over the next 36 to 48 hours.
- T.S. Karen Intensity Forecasts
The timing still appears to be in the Monday to Tuesday morning for heavy rain possible in the D.C. area. The forecast from the Weather Prediction Center below is calling for 1 to 2 inches across the area, but at this time, there's still a little variability and uncertainty in the forecast.
We are expecting the weekend to be unseasonably warm but dry with highs in the mid to upper 80s each day. The cold front to the west along with the tropical moisture from remnants of Karen will make it to the area on Monday. At this point in time, it may not be until Monday around lunch time and will hang around through Tuesday morning. If the track of this system pushes a bit east or west, it will have a large effect on who gets heavy rain and who doesn't get as much. We all need it at this point, so we're crossing our fingers it will pass over the majority of the region Monday.
Looking at some of the flash flood guidance, the region shouldn't experience much in the way of flooding since it hasn't rained in such a long time. The current 3-hour flash flooding guidance shows that it would need to rain about 3 to 4 inches in 3 hours to produce flash flooding, so the area shouldn't be too concerned at this time.
- Forecast Precipitation Monday morning through Wednesday morning from the WPC