Officials are warning people to stay out of the surf along Alabama's coast because of dangerous conditions ahead of tropical storm Karen.
Safety officials are flying double red flags at Gulf Shores because of treacherous rip currents, and they say conditions will only get worse through the day on Thursday.
Alabama's two coastal counties and nearly the entire northern Gulf Coast are under a hurricane watch. The latest forecast track shows the storm could come ashore in Alabama late Saturday or early Sunday.
Alabama's Emergency Management Agency plans to conduct an exercise to practice how the state would respond if a Category 3 hurricane were to enter the Gulf of Mexico.
EMA officials said they would work with other state agencies and private groups to simulate the state's response to a hurricane.
For the purpose of the exercise, the simulated storm will be called Hurricane Juliet. EMA officials said more than 170 people would participate in the exercise, which will begin at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the EMA headquarters in Clanton.