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Tropical storm closes on Gulf Coast

BRAITHWAITE, La. — Drivers in pickups hauling boat trailers and flatbed trucks laden with crab traps left vulnerable, low-lying areas of southeast Louisiana on Friday as Tropical Storm Karen headed toward the northern Gulf Coast, a late-arriving worry in what had been a slow hurricane season.

On Friday afternoon, Alabama joined Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida in declaring a state of emergency as officials and residents prepared for Karen, expected to near the central Gulf Coast on Saturday as a weak hurricane or tropical storm. The Federal Emergency Management Agency and Interior Department recalled workers, furloughed because of the government shut down, to help state and local agencies.

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Karen would be the second named storm to make US landfall so far this year, the first since Tropical Storm Andrea hit Florida in June.

Along with strong winds, the storm is forecast to produce rainfall of 3 to 6 inches through Sunday night. Isolated rain totals of up to 10 inches were possible. On Friday, Karen was about 235 miles south of the coast.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

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