TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami) – Tropical Storm Karen continues to churn towards the gulf coast and as the storm nears the region, Governor Rick Scott has issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency in 18 North Florida counties.

The counties include Escambia, Madison, Santa Rosa, Walton, Gulf, Leon, and others and includes the cities of Pensacola, Tallahassee, and other coastal areas.

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The system could be nearing hurricane strength in the next 24-36 hours and tropical storm watches and warnings along with hurricane watches are in place for much of the gulf coast.

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For the latest on T.S. Karen, click here.

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