Tropical Storm Chris, a U.S. East Coast Rip Current, High Surf Threat, Will Brush Newfoundland Today as a Post-Tropical Cyclone

July 12, 2018

Tropical Storm Chris is racing toward a brush with Atlantic Canada, while still generating high surf and rip currents along parts of the U.S. East Coast.

Chris became the second hurricane of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season late Tuesday afternoon, but is now transitioning into a post-tropical storm as it spreads rain and wind into parts of Newfoundland today.

(MORE: Atlantic Has Its First Pair of July Hurricanes in a Decade)

Current Storm Status

A southward dip in the jet stream over the northeastern U.S. is now helping to accelerate Chris farther out to sea away from the U.S. East Coast.

Given this jet stream interaction pushing Chris over sharply lower ocean heat content, it is expected to lose its tropical characteristics sometime Thursday, after first becoming a tropical depression off the North Carolina coast on July 6.

Projected Path

While Chris is moving away from the U.S. East Coast, it will still bring some impacts for beachgoers.

High surf and rip currents may persist from parts of the North Carolina coast up the mid-Atlantic and New England seaboards today.

(MORE: The Danger of Rip Currents)

Some minor coastal flooding is possible at high tide in a few spots along the New England coast.

The center of Chris is expected to graze across southeast Newfoundland Thursday.

There are no tropical storm warnings for any part of Atlantic Canada.

In Nova Scotia, most rain from Chris will remain offshore, so the only impacts will be large swells from 6 to 10 feet Thursday along the southern coast.

In Newfoundland, expect increasing wind and rain by Thursday, particularly in southeastern Newfoundland's Avalon and Burin peninsulas, including the provincial capital of St. John's. Some gusts to 60 mph are possible, at times.

Locally heavy rain may trigger flash flooding Thursday afternoon and evening.

Chris is expected to produce total rainfall accumulations of 1 to 3 inches (25 to 75 millimeters) over Newfoundland, with isolated maximum totals up to 6 inches (150 millimeters).

Hazardous seas will also accompany Chris' closest pass, with the potential of 6 to 8 meter (roughly 20 to 26 feet) swells along the coast of the southern Avalon Peninsula near the center of Chris. Some storm surge flooding is also possible in this area.

Conditions should improve quickly in Newfoundland overnight Thursday night and Friday morning as the post-tropical remnant races away into the northern Atlantic Ocean.

(MORE: Two Weeks After Snow, a Brush With Chris in Newfoundland)

Colorado State University tropical scientist, Dr. Phil Klotzbach, pointed out on July 11 Chris became the first Category 2 hurricane to form so far north this early in the hurricane season since 1906. 

History of the Name 'Chris'

This is the first tropical cyclone with the name of "Chris" to form in July.

The most recent Chris was Hurricane Chris in 2012, which was an unusual storm in that it was only the second hurricane to form in June as far north as it did – 41 degrees latitude.

The name Chris was also used four times for storms that developed in August, in 2006, 2000, 1994 and 1988.

In 2006, Tropical Storm Chris brought heavy rainfall to the Leeward Islands, Puerto Rico and Hispañiola, and in 1988, Tropical Storm Chris made landfall near Savannah, Georgia, after impacting the northeastern Caribbean.

In 1982, Tropical Storm Chris developed in the Gulf of Mexico in September and brought flooding as far north as Tennessee and Kentucky.

Chris was also used once in the western Pacific, in August 1948, for a tropical cyclone that did not make landfall.

The name Chris was also used for three storms near Australia in 1982, 1991 and 2002. Cyclone Chris in 2002 rapidly intensified and made landfall east-northeast of Port Hedland in western Australia. Significant damage was reported in some areas, with extensive cattle loss and windmill damage.

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