PEARL – Governor Phil Bryant and the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency are asking all residents and visitors along the Mississippi Gulf Coast to prepare for possible effects of tropical weather. This morning, the National Hurricane Center issued a hurricane watch for Hancock, Harrison and Jackson Counties after Tropical Storm Karen formed in the southern Gulf of Mexico.

“Now is the time for people to review their emergency plans in case conditions worsen,” Gov. Bryant said. “We continue to monitor Tropical Storm Karen’s progress, and we will update the public as the storm develops.”

At 1 p.m. CDT the National Hurricane Center reported the center of Tropical Storm Karen was located about 570 miles south-southeast of New Orleans or about 590 miles south of Gulfport. The storm was moving north-northwest at 12 mph. Storm intensity was 65 mph.

Current forecast models indicate that Tropical Storm Karen will strengthen to a low Category 1 hurricane southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River late Friday night, but will weaken again and make landfall as a tropical storm on Saturday.

“I think it’s critical for folks to not focus on the center of the forecast cone because these storms don’t always follow that line,” said MEMA Director Robert Latham. “We prepare as though we will get the worst conditions and I think the public should do the same.”

For details on preparedness checklists, as well as updates, please visit MEMA’s website at www.msema.org. or contact your county emergency management director. The public may also access MEMA’s mobile phone application or follow MEMA on Facebook and Twitter.