Tropical Storm Chris set to become hurricane Monday; Beryl fizzles


July 9 (Reuters) - Tropical storm Chris, slowly moving along the coast of the Carolinas, is expected to build into a full-blown hurricane on Monday, while the former Hurricane Beryl dwindled into a heavy rainstorm as it crossed the northeastern Caribbean, the National Hurricane Center said.

Chris, which formed off the North Carolina coast early on Sunday, is only expected to get stronger, the NHC said. Early Monday, it was blasting winds of 60 miles per hour as it moved at about 2 mph northward some 200 miles southeast off the coast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.

"Swells generated by Chris are expected to increase and affect portions of the coasts of North Carolina and the mid-Atlantic states during the next few days," the NHC said. "These swells could cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions."

Tropical Storm Chris/NOAA
Tropical Storm Chris/NOAA

The leftover bits of Beryl looked set to bring two to three inches of rain to Puerto Rico, along with wind gusts up to 40 mph.

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The chances of Beryl reforming into a tropical storm were put near zero. The weather service discontinued posting advisories about the storm late Sunday.

Tropical Storm Chris was expected to remain well off the U.S. coast, and the latest projections show it possibly making landfall in Nova Scotia late Wednesday or early Thursday.

But the National Weather Service maintained a hazardous weather outlook for Puerto Rico, the U.S. territory still recovering from the devastation wrought last year by Hurricane Maria, warning of thunderstorms and wind gusts.

A flash-flood watch remained in effect for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands from late Sunday through Monday evening, NWS San Juan said on Twitter. Tropical storm watches were in effect for Dominica and Guadeloupe.

Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello met with his Cabinet and weather experts on Sunday to prepare for Beryl's arrival, Rossello's office said in a statement. A state of emergency was in effect, the statement said.

About 7,000 houses and businesses in Puerto Rico still lack power after Hurricane Maria leveled an electricity grid that was ill-maintained before the storm.

According to a survey by a research team led by Harvard University that was published in May, Maria took the lives of more than 4,600 people on the island. (Reporting by Maria Caspani in New York, Rich McKay in Atlanta and Makini Brice in Washington; editing by Daniel Wallis, Peter Cooney, James Dalgleish and Larry King)

Originally published