Dennis Woltering / Eyewitness News
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NEW ORLEANS -- Communities across the area that Tropical Storm Karen could impact are bracing for the possibility that it may head their way.

Plaquemines Parish has declared a state of emergency in advance of the storm.

'Late season storms are always frustrating because they're so unpredictable,' said Guy Lagast of Plaquemines Parish Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.

And that's why officials in Plaquemines Parish say they are preparing for whatever the storm could hit them with.

That includes making sure pump stations can move out high water.

'We're not expecting major flooding, but we're going to be prepared,' Lagast said.

In Lafitte, fishermen and other boaters were bringing in vessels from rough waters in the Gulf of Mexico to brace for the storm in safe harbor.

Forecasts say storm surge here could hit 2 to 4 feet with winds gusting to 50 miles an hour and 2 to 4 inches of rain.

'We have our public works strike force ready to go with vacuum trucks, whatever is needed,' said Jefferson Parish President John Young.

Organizers of the Gretna Heritage Festival were still setting up tents and stages, hoping that the popular annual event can still go on despite the storm.

'Some of these structures are rated for certain winds,' said Jefferson Parish Ricky Templet. 'We will not exceed those safety measures.'

Col. Jerry Sneed is doing preps in New Orleans, making sure public safety people and department heads have contingencies and personnel ready to jump into action.

'The way it stands right now looks more like a rain event than a wind event, which is good,' Sneed said. 'We're used to that. So those people in low lying areas with cars on streets that normally flood, need to be prepared to move them out of the way.'

In Bay St. Louis, crews are clearing trees and construction debris, and Hancock County leaders are preparing for possible storm surge.

'We're getting our sandbag locations together, we're getting our staff together, our volunteer staff,' said Brian Adam, agency director of Hancock County Emergency Management. 'We're right now sitting in our EOC room. We're getting it up and running.'

People in low-lying areas across the projected impact zone are urged to take their own precautions.

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