Chris to kick up surf; no real threat

Staff and wire report

Tropical Storm Chris, which is spinning a couple of hundreds of miles off the North Carolina coast, is expected to turn into a hurricane Tuesday, but forecasters say it shouldn’t affect the lives of Robeson County residents — unless they have a beach trip coming soon.

Chris is expected to become a Category 1 hurricane, meaning it will have sustained winds of at least 74 mph and no more than 95 mph.

Although it is not expected to head toward North Carolina, Chris will churn up the seas, making for a high surf and dangerous rip currents as well as high winds. The National Weather Service said on Monday that there had already been three rescues because of dangerous surf conditions.

Chris had top winds of 60 mph Monday morning and was expected to remain nearly stationary through Tuesday before moving northeastward as a hurricane. It was far enough out to sea that no coastal watches or warnings were in effect, even for the closest point of land, Cape Hatteras.

Meanwhile, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands braced for heavy rains and strong winds Monday as remnants of the new season’s first hurricane provided an initial test of how far they’ve recovered from last year’s devastating storms.

Tropical Storm Beryl disintegrated after rushing over Dominica and into the eastern Caribbean, but the U.S. National Hurricane Center said the remnants still could bring 2 to 3 inches of rain pounding down on homes in Puerto Rico still damaged by September’s Hurricane Maria.

Forecasters said this could unleash flooding and landslides in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Staff and wire report