Saturday, February 24, 2018
Tampa Bay Weather

Weakened Karen loses tropical storm strength, will bring Monday rains to Tampa Bay

Karen lost more of its punch late Saturday and fell below tropical-storm status while stalling off the Louisiana coast.

Even as a tropical depression with top sustained winds of 35 mph, the system threatened to bring strong wind and heavy rain to vulnerable low-lying areas off the Louisiana coast. However, all watches and warnings were discontinued along the rest of the Gulf Coast and Florida.

"There's been so much shear and so much dry air that it finally beat it up," said Bay News 9 meteorologist Diane Kacmarik.

Forecasters expected for there to be little change in the system's strength over the next 24 hours and that it would turn into a remnant Monday.

Karen was centered about 185 miles southwest of the mouth of the Mississippi River late Saturday night. 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.

The National Weather Service said storm surges of 1-to-3 feet were possible along the southeast Louisiana and Mississippi coast, with rainfall accumulations of up to 3 inches — 6 inches in isolated areas — along various spots along the central Gulf Coast.

The Tampa Bay area won't feel any effects from the storm until tonight, according to Kacmarik.

"We're looking at just a few seabreeeze showers on Sunday," she said. "Then that area of tropical moisture in the gulf will be heading our way ahead of a cold front."

Karen-fueled showers should make for a wet Monday, Kacmarik said. Tampa Bay can also start expecting some cooler mornings this week, with temperatures dropping into the 70s.

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