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Chris becomes hurricane off coast of North Carolina

Chris becomes hurricane off coast of North Carolina

It's expected to remain "well offshore" of the US coast, forecasters say, instead steadily heading for Newfoundland while picking up forward speed through Thursday night.

Wednesday's 11 a.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center shows Chris sustaining 100 miles per hour winds, only 5 miles per hour slower than early Wednesday morning.

"Movement was northeast at 2 miles per hour, with a central pressure of 993 millibars or 29.33" of mercury.

The National Hurricane Center officially upgraded the tropical system known as Chris to a Category 1 Hurricane Tuesday evening.

The center of the storm was located 245 miles southeast of Halifax, Nova Scotia, and 470 miles southwest of Cape Race, Newfoundland.

In the United States, forecasters said Wednesday that beachgoers on the Atlantic coast should be wary of heavy surf and life-threatening rip-currents as Chris swirled off the U.S. East Coast.

The storm was expected to strengthen through Wednesday and then lose force from Thursday, the center said.

Southeastern winds will increase and gust to roughly 80km/h overnight on July 12 before switching over to northwesterly gusts of 70 km/h by morning on July 13.

Rip currents are possible for beaches from ME to the Carolinas, the National Weather Service said.

Additional weakening is expected as the storm moves northeastward with Chris expected to become a post-tropical cyclone by Thursday afternoon.

By late week, Chris will bring heavy rain and gusty winds to portions of Atlantic Canada.

If the storm hits as expected, there could be some damage to coastal infrastructure, and potential flooding, especially on the southern Avalon. Rough seas and rip currents are forecast for the East Coast all week.

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