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Region braces for tropical storm

This was the projected path of Tropical Storm Karen Friday afternoon from the National Hurricane Center.

This was the projected path of Tropical Storm Karen Friday afternoon from the National Hurricane Center.

ALBANY — By the latest models of the National Weather Service, Tropical Storm Karen may be passing through this weekend. Storms and hurricanes are notoriously unpredictable, but as of late Fruday, Karen was set to brush or make landfall at southwest Louisiana.

It would then make a northeast turn through the Florida panhandle, southern Alabama and Georgia.

Fire Chief and Director of the Albany-Dougherty Emergency Management Agency James Carswell says effects of the storm should be fairly mild.

“The current models show us being on the east side of the storm,” Carswell said Friday, “and that’s typically the windier side, so expect winds of around 20 miles per hour. We’ll likely have two to four inches of rain as well.”

According to Carswell, storms of this nature quickly lose intensity as they travel over land. Since Karen would be moving over a large stretch — much further than if coming straight across the panhandle — it likely will “tame down” before reaching Dougherty County, Carswell said.

All of that could quickly change, so Carswell and his team are in frequent contact with the weather service to update the situation, he said. However, in any high-wind situation, tornadoes are a real possibility.

“This is obviously not a real powerful storm,” Carswell said, “but all it takes is a one tornado over your house to make it bad for you. All you can really do is be prepared. Stay close to a radio or T.V., or whatever you have to keep you informed. Be good stewards of your own safety.”

Carswell recommends that everyone familiarize themselves with good emergency preparedness information, which can be found at www.albany.ga.us. Go to the site, click “public safety links” and then click “flooding.”