Tropical Storm Karen is still churning in the central Gulf of Mexico. A hurricane watch is posted from Grand Isle, Louisiana to west of Destin, Florida. Forecasters say the storm could reach hurricane strength late today or early Saturday.

Karen's maximum sustained winds have been clocked at around 60 miles an hour. To prepare for the storm, the U.S. Air Force is moving some of its aircraft from Florida to Little Rock Air Force Base. Karen's approach has already prompted two gulf states to issue emergency declarations.

Mississippi and Louisiana have both made the declarations, which allow state officials to deploy resources to help areas impacted by an emergency. Eighteen Florida counties are also covered under a state of emergency declared by Governor Rick Scott.