Formed as a tropical storm Monday, Karen is expected to make landfall between Mobile, Ala., and Penscaloa, Fla., late Sunday night or early Sunday morning. And its center will pass over metro Atlanta this weekend.
On Thursday afternoon, the storm sat several hundred miles south of the Mississippi River in the Gulf of Mexico with 65 mph winds, said state climatologist Bill Murphey.
Projections are still uncertain, Murphey said, but the storm could become a Category 1 Hurricane before it comes ashore.
“It could be anywhere from a weak tropical storm to a strong tropical storm to a weak hurricane before it hits landfall,” Murphey said.
Spinoff tornadoes are possible in Cobb, though they are more likely to run south of the metro area.
“Anywhere in Georgia is fair game, and I would say more Saturday and Sunday night you could have a chance of isolated tornadoes,” Murphey said.
The storm is likely to bring between 1 and 3 inches of rain and sustained winds between 25 and 35 miles per hour. Wind gusts could climb to 45 mph.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if we see some isolated pine trees and trees down,” said Alex Gibbs, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Peachtree City.
Gibbs says lawn furniture and other outdoor items could be tossed about if not secured.
The tropical storm’s path will interact with another system and cooler air will follow.
Murphey likens the storm to Hurricane Ida that fell on Cobb in 2009 but says its impact will be less than Hurricane Opal that brought heavy downpours and damage in 1995.
“This time of year it’s kind of common if we get tropical activity for it to come from this direction,” Murphey said.