By MICHAEL KUNZELMAN and KEVIN McGILL
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Though weakening slightly, Tropical Storm Karen remains poised to become the first named storm to hit the U.S. in what has been a relatively quiet hurricane season.
National Hurricane Center forecasters expect Karen to be near the central Gulf Coast on Saturday, likely as a weak hurricane or tropical storm.
Karen is about 250 miles (405 kilometers) south-southwest of the mouth of the Mississippi River and 290 miles (465 kilometers) south-southeast of Morgan City, La. It's moving north-northwest at 10 mph (17 kph). Maximum sustained winds are 50 mph (85 kph).
A hurricane watch is in effect for Grand Isle, La., to west of Destin, Fla. A tropical storm warning is in effect for Morgan City, La., to the mouth of the Pearl River.
Karen is expected to produce rainfall of 3 to 6 inches through Sunday night, with isolated totals up to 10 inches possible.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be
published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.