Tropical Storm Karen Update: Officials Issue Evacuations of Gulf Coast Communities, Heavy Rains + Storm Surge Expected

Tropical Storm Karen is expected to make landfall sometime Saturday marking the first named storm to strike the U.S. during this year's hurricane season.

Forecasters are stating the storm could make landfall as a weak hurricane or as a tropical storm which prompted officials along the gulf states to issue a hurricane watch from Grand Isle, La., to west of Destin, Fla.

A tropical storm warning was issued for the Louisiana coast from Grand Isle to the mouth of the Pearl River, including the New Orleans area.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami said Friday morning that Karen was about 275 miles south-southwest of the mouth of the Mississippi River and was moving northwest at 10 mph.

The report added that the storm's maximum sustained winds were 60 mph and the National Hurricane Center was confident that the storm would change very little Friday. Forecasters did state that the storm could strengthen, when the storm's center would be near the coast.

In Alabama, safety workers Thursday hoisted double red flags at Gulf Shores because of treacherous rip currents ahead of the storm, according to The Associated Press.

Karen is the tenth tropical storm of the Atlantic-Caribbean hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30 and historically peaks on September 10.

According to NHC, the hurricane season in the Atlantic starts June 1 and ends five months later on Nov. 30. For the Eastern Pacific, hurricane season lasts longer, beginning on May 15 and ends six months after on Nov. 30 as well.

This year has been particular quite for the Western pacific in terms of named storms, but it has been a relatively active season in the Eastern Pacific, with 10 named storms so far this season. On average, there are only three Eastern Pacific hurricanes by the first week of August, with hurricane season running until Nov. 1.