Federal Emergency Management Administration officials recalled furloughed government employees in anticipation of Tropical Storm Karen hitting the Gulf Coast region this weekend.

“Gulf Coast residents in potentially impacted areas should take steps now to be prepared and follow the direction of local officials,” said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. “FEMA will continue to support our state and local partners as they prepare for any potential impacts.”

FEMA said that the furlough recalls were consistent with law, though the federal government has been shut down this week as Republicans try to delay or defund Obamacare, but Democrats want a continuing resolution passed that funds government at current levels.

The storm is expected to hit Saturday evening. "[A] hurricane watch is currently in effect from Grand Isle, La., eastward to Indian Pass, Fla.," according to FEMA. "A tropical storm watch is in effect from west of Grand Isle, to east of Morgan City, La; metropolitan New Orleans, Lake Maurepas and Lake Pontchartrain."