Karen weakens as it approaches central Gulf Coast

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BRAITHWAITE, La. (AP) — Tropical Storm Karen is losing strength as it heads toward the central Gulf Coast, but forecasters are still expecting it to bring significant rain and potential flooding to low-lying areas.

The National Hurricane Center reported at 11 p.m. Friday that Karen's maximum sustained winds had dropped to 45 mph (72 kph), making it a weak tropical storm.

Forecasters expect the center of Karen to be near the southeast Louisiana coast on Saturday night, when they say there is a slight chance of strengthening.

Early Saturday, a tropical storm warning remained in effect from Morgan City, La., to the mouth of the Pearl River, which forms part of the border between Louisiana and Mississippi. A tropical storm watch covered the New Orleans area as well as a stretch from east of the mouth of the Pearl to Indian Pass, Fla.

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