Hurricane Chris strengthens, stays well off U.S. Atlantic coast

Hurricane Chris gathered strength as it churned off the coast of the mid-Atlantic states to become a Category 2 storm on the Saffir-Simpson wind scale on Tuesday, but it was not expected to make landfall over the United States, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

Latest projections show Chris will approach southeastern Newfoundland

Hurricane Chris is packing maximum sustained winds of 165 km/h as it heads north towards Newfoundland, which may be in the path of the storm. (NOAA/Goes-East Imagery/Handout via Reuters)

Hurricane Chris gathered strength as it churned off the coast of the mid-Atlantic states to become a Category 2 storm on the Saffir-Simpson wind scale on Tuesday, but it was not expected to make landfall over the United States, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

Chris was packing maximum sustained winds of 165 km/h and was about 390 km east-southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, on Tuesday evening, the NHC said in its latest advisory at 11 p.m. ET.

The hurricane was moving toward the northeast at 17 km/h, the NHC said.

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

Storm swells in U.S.

Storm swells generated by Chris will be hitting North Carolina and other mid-Atlantic states over the next few days.

"These swells could cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions," the centre said.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper warned beachgoers on Monday to beware of dangerous rip currents after an unidentified man in his mid-60s drowned just north of the town of Nags Head, near Cape Hatteras, when he was caught in a rough surf current caused by the storm.

Chris was expected to remain well off the U.S. coast, the NHC said, adding on its current forecast track, the centre of Chris will be near southeastern Newfoundland on Thursday night.

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