Tracking the Tropics

Oct 4, 2013 6:26 PM by AP

Miss. coast sticks to routines as Karen slows

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - People along the Mississippi Gulf Coast on Friday were sticking to their plans for high school football games, downtown arts events and even a pub crawl as Tropical Storm Karen meandered northward through the Gulf of Mexico.

Mississippi Emergency Management Agency spokesman Brett Carr said the storm had slowed down by Friday afternoon. MEMA was telling residents and tourists to prepare for a storm that could bring high winds and heavy rain to the state's 10 southernmost counties this weekend.

"We are just planning and preparing for the worst possible scenario," which, in this case would be a Category 1 hurricane, Carr said.

Harrison County emergency management director Rupert Lacy said local officials across the coast decided school would stay in session Friday and football games would be played, as scheduled. An earlier forecast had said Karen might be ashore late Friday, about the time team buses would be on the road.

Sandbags were being made available in Mississippi's coastal counties. No evacuations had been ordered by Friday afternoon. Local officials could open shelters, if needed.

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant declared a state of emergency Thursday, allowing the state to send emergency workers and material to areas that might be affected by Karen.

Most casinos along the Mississippi Gulf Coast are on beachside barges. Casinos remained open Friday and were communicating with local emergency officials about whether they'd need to close if Karen worsened.

Cruisin' the Coast, an eight-day event featuring classic cars, is on track to start Sunday in Gulfport. Some participants are camping out in tents and motor homes for the event. Carr said some of those who had set up near the beach were moving their temporary structures a bit further inland.

Several local residents were moving their boats to inland harbors.

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