Governor Robert Bentley on Thursday said Alabama emergency response agencies will be ready to respond to Tropical Storm Karen as needed, and Alabamians are encouraged to prepare for a potential impact from the storm.
On Thursday, the National Hurricane Center issued a Hurricane Watch for much of the U.S. Gulf Coast, including Baldwin and Mobile Counties. A Hurricane Watch means hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 miles-per-hour or higher) are possible within the specified area. A Hurricane Watch is generally issued 48 hours in advance of the onset of tropical-storm-force winds.
"Our state agencies are monitoring the track of Tropical Storm Karen, and Alabama families should do the same," Governor Bentley said. "On the state level, we will be prepared for a possible emergency response. On the individual level, people play an important role in community preparedness. Make sure you monitor local forecasts. Review your family emergency response plans. Understand this storm can affect people inland as well, not just on the Coast. Now is the time to think ahead and prepare in case Karen directly impacts Alabama."
Governor Bentley and Alabama Emergency Management Agency Director Art Faulkner are in contact with the National Weather Service in Mobile, the NationalHurricaneCenter, FEMA Region IV and countyEMAs discussing storm preparation and response if it is deemed necessary.
Director Faulkner said preparations on the state and community levels should be complemented by personal preparations as well.
"Part of being prepared for any potential severe weather event is having a device to receive weather updates," Faulkner said. "One of the best devices is an all-hazard weather radio."
The track of Karen is subject to change. Heading into the weekend, people need to stay in touch with reliable sources of weather information to receive updates.
According to the National Weather Service in Mobile, potential threats include heavy coastal rainfall over the weekend, possible flooding and dangerous rip currents on the beach.