COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A weakened Tropical Storm Karen continues to churn in the Gulf of Mexico, and depending on the track the system takes, it could bring unsettled weather to the Midlands late Sunday into Monday.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami says the late-season storm formed Thursday morning. It is about 250 miles south-southwest of the mouth of the Mississippi River, moving north-northwest at 10 mph with maximum sustained winds of 50 mph.
Karen is expected to make landfall with winds near 70 mph along the Gulf Coast Saturday night.
The effect the system has on the Midlands depends greatly on what track it takes after landfall.
According to Meteorologist Ben Tanner, the center of the storm could pass through South Carolina Monday anywhere from the Upstate to just off the coast as depression or remnant depression.
If it does take a central or northern path, we would start getting rain Sunday night into much of Monday with a moderate threat of severe weather, including tornadoes. Flooding is not likely because the storm will be moving quickly.
If the system takes more of a southern track along the coast, we would see very little impact with many areas not getting any rain at all. The possibility of severe weather also diminishes greatly with this track.
A hurricane watch was in effect from Grand Isle, La., to Indian Pass in the Florida Panhandle. A tropical storm watch also was in effect for parts of the Louisiana coast west of Grand Isle, including the metro New Orleans area and Lake Pontchartrain.