MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A hurricane watch and tropical storm warning are in effect after Tropical Storm Karen formed in the southeastern Gulf of Mexico Thursday morning.

At 11 p.m., the system was about 340 miles south of the mouth of the Mississippi River. Karen has maximum sustained winds of 65 miles per hour and is moving to the north-northwest at 10 miles per hour.

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The National Hurricane Center has issued the following watches and warnings for Karen:

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  • Hurricane Watch – from Grand Isle, Louisiana to west of Destin, Florida
  • Tropical Storm Warning – from Grand Isle, Louisiana to the mouth of the Pearl River
  • A Tropical Storm Watch – from west of Grand Isle to east of Morgan City, Louisiana including Metropolitan New Orleans, Lake Muarepas, Lake Pontchartrainm, Destin to Indian Pass, Florida.

The National Hurricane Center forecasts the storm to gradually turn towards the north and slow down its forward speed over the next two days. The NHC said some strengthening is expected during the next 48 hours.

The system is expected to approach the coast within the hurricane watch area on Saturday.

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Karen is expected to be at or near hurricane strength by Friday.