Strengthening Tropical Storm Chris to remain at sea but rip current impact will be felt in N.J.

South Seaside Park in September 2015. (Photo: Justin Auciello/for WHYY)

South Seaside Park in September 2015. (Photo: Justin Auciello/for WHYY)

Waves from the strengthening Tropical Storm Chris and associated rip currents will begin to impact New Jersey by midweek.

The National Hurricane Center expects Chris, the third tropical system of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season, to become a minimal hurricane by early Tuesday.

As of 11 a.m. Monday, Chris is nearly stationary 215 miles south-southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina and packing maximum sustained winds of 60 miles per hour.

The National Hurricane Center says Chris will remain over the Atlantic Ocean and head toward the northeast. There is no direct threat to land.

But by Wednesday, swells generated by the system will build in New Jersey and cause an increased rip current risk through at least Thursday.

Coupled with an onshore flow and astronomical high tides associated with this week’s new moon, minor beach erosion is also possible during the evening high tide cycle for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.

How to identify a rip current:

  • A channel of churning, choppy water.
  • An area having a notable difference in water color.
  • A line of foam, seaweed, or debris moving steadily seaward.
  • A break in the incoming wave pattern.

Rip current speeds vary, with an average pull of 1-2 feet per second, but some can move as fast as 8 feet per second, which is faster than an Olympic swimmer.

If caught in a rip current, NOAA advises:

  • Stay calm.
  • Don’t fight the current.
  • Escape the current by swimming in a direction following the shoreline. When free of the current, swim at an angle—away from the current—toward shore.
  • If you are unable to escape by swimming, float or tread water. When the current weakens, swim at an angle away from the current toward shore.
  • If at any time you feel you will be unable to reach shore, draw attention to yourself: face the shore, call or wave for help.

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