NEW ORLEANS —
Otherwise, residents were monitoring the storm and hoping to dodge the foul weather.
"Hopefully, this one is just a little rain event," said Camardelle "We don't need a big storm coming at us this late in the season."
Zelinsky said residents in the warning areas should listen to their local emergency managers for advisories. "Now is the time to begin making preparations," Zelinsky said.
Forecasters said a cold front approaching from the northwest was expected to turn Karen to the northeast, away from the Louisiana coast and more toward the Florida Panhandle or coastal Alabama. But the timing of the front's arrival over the weekend was uncertain.
Grand Isle suffered damage from Hurricane Isaac in August 2012. Isaac clipped the mouth of the Mississippi River for its official first landfall before meandering northwest over Grand Isle and stalling inland. Though a weak hurricane, Isaac's stall built a surge along the southeast Louisiana coast that flooded communities in neighboring Plaquemines Parish.
Mike Steele, a spokesman for the Louisiana Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, said a conference call was planned Thursday morning for state and parish officials to discuss the storm.
"Just so we can be in contact and see if there are any needs we can help meet," Steele said.
Karen was expected to pass over Gulf oil and gas fields from Louisiana to Alabama, but early forecasts suggested the storm would miss the massive oil import facility at Port Fourchon, La., just west of Grand Isle, and the oil refineries that line the Mississippi River south of Baton Rouge.
Oil giant BP said it has begun securing offshore rigs and evacuating non-essential workers from its four company-operated production platforms in Karen's projected path.
Other oil companies were expected to take similar action.