Tropical storm Karen threatens Gulf states, could help soak Philadelphia area

Remnants of tropical storm Karen could add to rain expected in the Philadelphia area on Monday, Oct. 7, and Tuesday, Oct. 8. (National Weather Service map)

The Philadelphia area could have a wonderful weekend weather-wise, before getting a good soaking early next week, as a cold front moves in and possibly pulls in moisture from what’s left of tropical storm Karen.

Today’s high could be in the mid 80s, with possible showers in late afternoon and evening, followed by highs in the low 80s and dry skies for Saturday and most of Sunday.

The northern Gulf Coast, however, from eastern Louisiana to western Florida, is bracing for Karen, which could bring winds of near hurricane strength, a storm surge of several feet, and flooding rains of four to eight inches, perhaps even up to a foot in some areas, according to the National Hurricane Center.

With sustained winds of 60 m.p.h. this morning and landfall expected early Sunday morning near New Orleans, the storm has already triggered states of emergency for Louisiana, Mississippi and 18 Florida counties.

Although Karen, still a couple of hundred miles from the coast this morning, could flirt with becoming a Category 1 hurricane, with winds of 74 m.p.h. or more, it’s likely to be a tropical storm when it comes ashore, forecasters say. While far from harmless, Karen is also far from having being another Katrina, which was a Category 3 hurricane with 125 m.p.h. winds  in 2005 when it devastated New Orleans.

The path projected by the National Hurricane Center has Karen still at tropical storm strength through Monday morning, then swinging up from Georgia through the Carolinas, with the storm’s center in Virginia early Tuesday.

That trajectory still has some uncertainty. “Other storm systems across the United States will dictate where Karen and its associated moisture heads after landfall,” according to

Karen could add to rain expected in the Philadelphia region resulting from the arrival of a cold front early next week.

“This front should serve as a conduit for tropical moisture to stream northeastward along it,” according to a National Weather Service forecast discussion.

Thunderstorms are even possible as the area gets an inch or two of rain, with more possible in pockets.

This forecast calls for possibly heavy rain Monday and Monday night, with more rain possible Tuesday.

By midweek, highs could be in the low 70s, with lows in 50s.

For more on Karen, go to the National Hurricane Center website. For more on the Philadelphia forecast, go to's weather page or the National Weather Service's website for the region.

Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or