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Monday, Jul 16, 2018
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Tampa Bay Hurricane Guide

Tropical Storm Chris threatens dangerous surf off Carolinas as Beryl dissipates

YABUCOA, Puerto Rico — Tropical Storm Chris was squatting on Monday about 200 miles (320 kilometers) off the coast of the Carolinas, where forecasters expect it will gain hurricane strength before moving up Gulfstream waters on a path that could cause life-threatening surf on East Coast beaches this week.

Meanwhile, the remnants of Tropical Storm Beryl dissipated after rushing over Dominica, but forecasters said strong gusty winds and locally heavy rains could reach Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Haiti and the Dominican Republic Monday night, possibly causing flooding or mudslides.

Chris had top winds of 60 mph (95 kph) at 5 a.m. Monday, 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, North Carolina.

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Beryl had been the Atlantic season’s first hurricane, but it disintegrated shortly before reaching Dominica, where many people still shelter under tarps on their roofs more than nine months after Hurricane Maria hit as a Category 5 storm and killed dozens of people. The storm’s remnants crossed directly over the island with top sustained winds of 40 mph (65 kph), and was expected to drop up to 3 inches (8 centimeters) of rain, with as much as 5 inches (13 centimeters) in isolated spots.

There were no immediate reports on any damage on Dominica from the latest storm.

Dominica’s government had said it would shut down the water system during the storm’s pass as a precautionary measure to lessen possible damage. People on the island, as well as elsewhere in the region, had rushed to stock up on food and water and prepare for the threat of damaging winds, rains and waves.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said the remnants of Beryl would move south of the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico on Monday. It said winds would fall below gale force during the night, but people on area islands should be alert for possible heavy rain that could cause flooding or mudslides.

Puerto Rico’s governor had feared new power outages if Beryl passed near his island as a tropical storm as originally forecast. But Beryl, which had been the Atlantic season’s first hurricane, disintegrated as a tropical storm shortly before reaching Dominica.

The hurricane center said Beryl’s remnant had maximum sustained winds of 40 mph (65 kph) late Sunday and was moving west-northwestward at 26 mph (43 kph). It said the system could still drop up to 2 to 3 inches (5 to eight 8) of rain, with as much as 5 inches (13 centimeters) in isolated spots.

To the north, Tropical Storm Chris formed off the Carolinas, and the hurricane center said it was likely to grow into a hurricane Monday while staying offshore. It wasn’t projected to directly threaten land over the next few days, though forecasters said it could kick up dangerous surf and rip tides.

Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit had warned people to respect an island-wide curfew and remain indoors.

Meteorologist Marshall Alexander told The Associated Press that officials were worried about people still living with tarps on their roofs after Hurricane Maria.

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello also urged people without sturdy roofs to move in with relatives or one of 24 government shelters that had opened. Some 60,000 people still have only tarps for roofs.

"I’m praying for all the brothers who are still living under a plastic roof," said Alfonso Lugo in the southeastern Puerto Rico town of Humacao. "They’re the ones who are suffering the most now."

Lugo lost his roof and two walls to Maria and was waiting for volunteers to secure his new roof before Beryl.

Off the U.S. East Coast, Tropical Storm Chris has maximum sustained winds of 60 mph (95 kph). It was centered about 195 miles (315 kilometers) south-southeast of Cape Hatteras. It was moving to east-southeast at 2 mph (4 kph).

The hurricane center said there was a possibility that Beryl’s remnants could regenerate into a tropical cyclone in a few days while moving across the Bahamas.

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