Beachgoers in Pensacola at ease ahead of Karen

Tropical Storm Karen expected to reach Gulf Coast on Saturday night

PENSACOLA, Fla. - While Tropical Storm Karen approached, beachgoers enjoyed their Friday afternoon in Pensacola, where surfers filled the water.

"It's one of the bigger days I've seen. We don't get surf that much, so when it does it's a big deal," said Matt Prevatt.

"We've had rain worse this year than probably what will happen," added Karen Seamen.

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Red flag warnings were up along the beach, and lifeguards watched for anyone pulled under by rip currents. Elsewhere, drivers filled up their gas tanks ahead of the storm.

"I was here for Ivan so I don't want to make the same mistake," said Teena Valentine.

City officials set up several locations for residents to collect sandbags. But the demand appeared low.

"I ain't even putting up the storm shutters," said Robert Clark. "You know, 65 miles per hour winds is -- all that is is aggravating."

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