Tropical Storm Karen Heads for Gulf, Record Snow in West, Tornadoes in Neb.

La., Miss., Fla. declare states of emergency; blizzard in S.D. and Wyo.; twisters slam Neb.
2:59 | 10/04/13

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Transcript for Tropical Storm Karen Heads for Gulf, Record Snow in West, Tornadoes in Neb.
We do begin with that wild weather across the country tonight starting with what you see right here behind me. This giant swirling storm, tropical storm karen, on a collision course with the gulf coast this evening. A state of emergency in louisiana, alabama, mississippi and florida. Evacuations now underway, president obama briefed on the gathering storm, it's not the only trouble spot tonight. Look at this. Several states out west with an early winter in south dakota, cars abandoned. In wyoming look, the summer patio right there. The furniture buried in snow. In utah tonight, hale. And in nebraska, listen to this. Those are thecy renes tonight, the night sky lit up by lightning, as a tornado moves through town. Meteorologist ginger zee is in the gulf tracking it all. She begins with the tropical storm moving in. Reporter: Surf pounding in alabama. Storms streaming on shore in louisiana. All ahead of tropical storm karen. Now less than a day from making landfall on the gulf coast. Hide from the wind, and go visit a relative for the weekend. Reporter: In mississippi, they are putting everything up. And slamming for sandbags outside new orleans. Better to be safe than sorry. We weren't prepared before. Reporter: Several oil rigs shut down in the gulf. Some of those furloughed fema workers back on to help prep for karen. Up to ten inches of rain, and five feet of storm surge is only one of the weather headlines tonight. A record setting snowstorm is attacking parts of wyoming, nebraska and south dakota. The rapid city airport is closed. A whiteout, as stretches of i-90 in south dakota shut down. And snow, up to two feet deep, smothering backyards. Like this october monstrosity. Tearing at trees and power lines. Threatening iowa, minnesota and others along this cold front, with more severe weather. Ginger zee reporting in from the gulf tonight. Clearly, going to be a troubling and challenging scene for the gulf. We'll check in with ginger and that forecast as we continue here. In the meantime, we move on next to washington tonight, word of yet another frightening incident playing out in the nation's capitol. A man set himself on fire on the national mall this afternoon, a witness says he dumped gasoline on his head. And then lit himself on fire. They took off their shirtsz to dowse the flamps. The man has burns on 80% of his body. Of course it comes a day after that other harrowing scene in washington. The young mother with her baby in her car who triggered 38 minutes of chaos at the capitol. Miriam carey shot dead after a high-speed chase with police. Her baby girl is all right. Tonight we learn more about her mental state. Family and friends speaking out. And correspondent pierre thomas

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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