Tropical Storm Chris forms off the Carolinas, generating dangerous surf

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A satellite view of Tropical Storm Chris on Sunday morning. (CIRA/NOAA)

Chris, the third storm of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season, was named Sunday morning as it gained strength off the coast of the Carolinas. The storm is forecast to intensify into a hurricane over the next several days but remain off the coast before zipping off toward Newfoundland late in the week.

The storm, 150 miles south of Cape Hatteras, packs maximum sustained winds of 40 mph. It is nearly stationary, and little movement is expected through Tuesday. As a result, it is forecast to continue generating life-threatening waves and rip currents for the Mid-Atlantic beaches. A man died in the rough surf in Kill Devil Hills, N.C., on Saturday, when Chris was still a tropical depression.


The track forecast for Chris. (National Hurricane Center)

As the storm is positioned over very warm ocean waters, it is forecast to steadily strengthen over the next 72 hours and become a hurricane between Tuesday and Wednesday.

At that point, a cold front should absorb Chris and rapidly sweep it to the north-northeast toward Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. It should gradually weaken as it moves over cooler water.

As the third named storm of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season, Chris developed more than a month ahead of normal. On average, the third storm forms Aug. 13, said Phil Klotzbach, a tropical weather researcher at Colorado State University and Capital Weather Gang contributor.

“If #Chris becomes a hurricane as forecast, it will be the second hurricane in July,” Brian McNoldy, Capital Weather Gang’s tropical weather expert, noted  on Twitter. “Last time there were two July hurricanes was 2008 (Bertha and Dolly).”

Elsewhere in the tropical Atlantic, Beryl — once a hurricane — has weakened substantially on approach to the Lesser Antilles. It is now a minimal tropical storm, with peak winds of 40 mph. The storm is, however, forecast to maintain this strength as it heads west over the next day, prompting tropical storm warnings for Dominica and Guadeloupe, where gusty winds and one to three inches of rain are possible.


The track forecast for Tropical Storm Beryl. (National Hurricane Center)

By Tuesday, the storm is forecast to degenerate but could still produce some gusty winds and heavy rain over Puerto Rico and Hispaniola.

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