- Associated Press - Saturday, October 5, 2013

BRAITHWAITE, La. — In a sign that concerns in Louisiana are easing over Tropical Storm Karen, officials in one of the state’s most vulnerable areas are downgrading an evacuation order from mandatory to voluntary.

Officials in Plaquemines Parish said the change would take effect at noon Saturday.

Karen weakened overnight, but officials all along the northern Gulf Coast still urged vigilance, as heavy rains and high winds remained a possibility.

A tropical storm warning was in effect from Morgan City to the mouth of the Pearl River, between Louisiana and Mississippi. A tropical storm watch covers the New Orleans area and a stretch from east of the Pearl River’s mouth to Indian Pass, Fla.

Forecasters expected the storm’s center to be in the warning area Saturday night or Sunday morning.

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