Karen weakened to a tropical depression Saturday night in its move toward the Gulf Coast, but still threatened to bring heavy winds and high rains.
Officials from Louisiana to northwest Florida acknowledged that the storm was weakening and sent some emergency workers home, but urged residents to be cautious.
Forecasters say the storm is likely to pass near the coasts of Mississippi and Alabama on Sunday.
At 11 p.m. Saturday, Karen was 120 miles south-southwest of Morgan City, La. and 185 miles west-southwest of the mouth of the Mississippi River with maximum sustained winds of 35 mph. It was stationary.
Meantime, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, and the Florida National guard have recalled some of their workers who were furloughed by the government shutdown to prepare for the storm.
About 86 percent of FEMA's workforce was sent home on Tuesday, and officials are not saying how many will be called back for Karen.
The Florida National Guard recalled about 24 of the 1,000 civilian employees who were furloughed, and more may be called back depending on how severe Karen becomes.
"Our number one priority is the safety of our citizens," said Florida Governor Rick Scott. "We will not let the government shutdown in Washington in any way hurt our emergency response efforts in Florida."
The storm is expected to bring increased cloud cover to the Orlando area. The biggest impacts for Central Florida will be an increased chance of rain on Sunday of 30 percent, Sorrells said.
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