Army Corps to close storm-surge gate protecting New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The Army Corps of Engineers says it plans to close a storm-surge gate protecting the New Orleans area as Tropical Storm Karen swirls in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Amy Corps says it would begin Thursday afternoon to close a gate designed to keep possible storm surge from Lake Borgne, east of the city, from entering the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal - known locally as the Industrial Canal - through the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. In 2005, flood wall breaches along the canal contributed to catastrophic flooding during Hurricane Katrina.

Karen's forecast track predicts a weekend landfall east of Louisiana. Still, officials say they were prepared for any changes.

Oil companies also prepared for the storm. Shell and BP said they were securing offshore rigs and evacuating non-essential workers.

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