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Storm not expected to reach the Miss-Lou

NATCHEZ — Local emergency management officials said they’re keeping an eye on Tropical Storm Karen but aren’t planning for the storm to hit the Miss-Lou.

Tropical Storm Karen is swirling in the Gulf of Mexico with a hurricane watch from Grand Isle, La., to Indian Pass in the Florida Panhandle. The area includes Mississippi’s entire coastline.

While the storm is currently projected to hit the Mississippi coast, the National Weather Service does not anticipate it will reach Adams County.

Adams County Emergency Management Director Stan Owens said his office is not doing anything special at this time but he is prepared to work through the weekend.

“If the storm stays on its current track, we may see some wind bands, but nothing else,” Owens said.

“We will know more (today) when it has a more definite cone. If it stays on track — and they feel pretty confident it will — the storm will reach hurricane strength (today), but by the time it makes landfall, it will do so at less than hurricane strength.”

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal declared a state of emergency Thursday after the storm formed in the Gulf of Mexico and threatened to come ashore over the weekend along the Gulf coast.

The declaration authorizes the state Office of Homeland Security and other state agencies to activate emergency plans for the tropical storm’s possible impact on Louisiana parishes.

Forecasters said the storm is expected to approach the mouth of the Mississippi River and then shuttle off to the east toward the Florida Panhandle. But they warned the forecast track could change and advised residents and business in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida to prepare for possible tropical storm conditions.

Meanwhile, officials in coastal parishes advised residents to make preparations and took early steps to prepare for the storm.

Oil companies were preparing, as well. Shell and BP said they were securing offshore rigs and evacuating non-essential workers. Others were expected to do so, as well.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.