Forecasters expect Tropical Storm Chris to strengthen to a Category 1 hurricane later Tuesday as it moves north and east, remaining hundreds of miles off-shore, but creating dangerous rip currents.
By Len Melisurgo | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
Tropical Storm Chris is expected to become Hurricane Chris later Tuesday as it continues to spin far off the coast of North Carolina.
Forecasters from the National Hurricane Center said Chris — which should become the second hurricane of the relatively slow 2018 Atlantic hurricane season — made very little movement during the past 24 hours but is expected to track north and east late Tuesday into early Wednesday.
Once the storm begins to travel farther north, it will create rough surf as far north as the Jersey Shore, forecasters said.
“Swells generated by Chris are expected to increase and affect portions of the coasts of North Carolina and the Mid-Atlantic states during the next few days,” the hurricane center said in a storm advisory. “These swells could cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.”
Forecasters are expecting rough surf along the Jersey Shore this week because of large ocean swells generated by Hurricane Chris. (NJ Advance Media file photo)
Rip currents to worsen in N.J.
The National Weather Service’s regional office in Mount Holly says there will be a moderate risk of dangerous rip currents along the entire Jersey Shore on Tuesday and a moderate to high risk on Wednesday.
When the risk of dangerous rip currents is high, some beaches ban swimming and others allow beach-goers to go into the ocean but only in water up to their knees.
Sarah Johnson, a meteorologist at the weather service, said swimmers should always be on high alert, even on days when the risk of rip currents is deemed to be low.
“Even when you have a low risk, you still frequently see rip currents develop, particularly near piers and jetties,” she said Monday afternoon. “So even though we’re not saying there’s a high risk at this point, it doesn’t mean there’s no risk whatsoever.”
This map from the National Hurricane Center, updated at 11 a.m. Tuesday, shows the current forecast track of Tropical Storm Chris.
Status of Tropical Storm Chris
As of 5 a.m. Tuesday, Hurricane Chris was virtually stationary, with the center of the storm swirling about 200 miles south-southeast of Cape Hatteras, N.C., and about 400 miles south of Cape May. The storm’s maximum sustained winds were measured at 70 mph around 5 a.m. Tuesday. It's moving northeast at just 2 mph.
Chris is forecast to strengthen into a hurricane later today and some additional strengthening is expected through Wednesday night.
Tropical storms have sustained winds of 39 mph to 73 mph, and Category 1 hurricanes produce sustained winds of 74 mph to 95 mph. Chris’ tropical storm-force winds extended outward up to 70 miles from the storm’s center as of Tuesday morning, the hurricane center said.
That poses no wind threat to coastal areas in the Mid-Atlantic.