Tropical Storm Chris expected to become hurricane, bring dangerous surf while staying off coast

The third named storm of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season is expected to strengthen into a hurricane by Tuesday, staying away from the U.S. but still close enough to churn up dangerous waters for beachgoers, forecasters said Monday.

The National Hurricane Center said in a 11 a.m. advisory that Tropical Storm Chris is located about 215 miles south of Cape Hatteras, N.C., with sustained winds of 60 mph and is stationary.

"Chris has been nearly stationary the past several hours, and little motion is expected during the next day or so," the NHC said. "A northeastward motion is forecast to begin late Tuesday, and Chris is forecast to accelerate northeastward on Wednesday and Thursday."

An Air Force hurricane hunter aircraft dispatched into the center of the storm found that sustained winds are near 60 mph, and extend up to 70 miles from the center of the tropical system. Chris is expected to strengthen by Monday night, and become a hurricane by Tuesday, according to the NHC.

A map showing the location and forecast track of Tropical Storm Chris.

A map showing the location and forecast track of Tropical Storm Chris. (NOAA)

While the storm is expected to remain away from land, it's still kicking up the surf during the peak summer beach season along the East Coast.

"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 NHC said. "These swells could cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions."


The effects from Chris have already taken a deadly turn in North Carolina. While the storm was still categorized as Tropical Depression 3 on Saturday, a man died when he was caught in rough surf on a North Carolina beach.

The 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season outlook.

The 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season outlook. (NOAA)

Forecasters earlier this year said that the Atlantic hurricane season is expected to be close to "normal" with  10 to 16 named storms with winds of 39 mph or higher, of which 5 to 9 will strengthen into hurricanes. Of those storms, there will be 1 to 4 major hurricanes, which are classified as Category 3, 4 and 5 with winds of 111 mph or higher.

An average hurricane season produces 12 named storms, of which 6 become hurricanes, including 3 major hurricanes, according to NOAA.