The weather experts don't expect tropical storm Karen to cause much havoc in the Columbus area.
According to the National Weather Service, the Columbus area will likely get rain and some gusty winds from the remnants of Karen, but nothing torrential.
Saturday will see a high temperature of around 86 with a 30 percent chance of rain and winds gusting up to 15 mph. On Sunday, the temperature will drop to a high of around 79 degrees but with an 80 percent chance of rain and possible thundershowers. On Monday, the high temperature will remain in the high 70s but the chance of rain will drop back to 30 percent.
As of late Thursday afternoon, Karen was still a tropical storm, but the NWS expected it to gain Category 1 hurricane status before it makes landfall.
The Gulf coast is under a hurricane watch from Panama City Beach, Fla., west to extreme eastern Louisiana, though metropolitan New Orleans remains only under a tropical storm watch, the weather service reports.
Shawn McCorry, emergency service program manager for the West Central Georgia chapter of the American Red Cross, said the chapter has enacted its "120-hour plan," which means they make sure all vehicles are in good running order and gassed up, volunteers have been contacted and put on call and inventories of equipment and supplies are sufficient.
McCorry said Thursday afternoon that it's too early to tell what to expect, but he said the local chapter would learn more on a conference call this morning with regional chapters.
Regardless of the severity of the hurricane, McCorry suggested that residents have what the Red Cross calls a "72-hour kit." That includes things like having one gallon of fresh water for each member of the household for three days, sufficient spare batteries for flashlights and radios, some extra cash in case ATMs go down and making sure cars are filled with gas, among other items.
For more information on putting together a 72-hour kit, residents can call the local Red Cross chapter at 706-323-5614 or go to redcross.org.