morehead city —Tropical Storm Cristobal is strengthening a bit as it approaches the Atlantic coast, but fortunately it isn’t expected to make landfall.
Cristobal formed at 6:20 a.m. on Aug. 24. According ot the National Hurricane Center, as of 8 a.m. today Cristobal was located at 24.7 degrees north latitude, 72.8 degrees west longitude. It was about 115 miles east-northeast of San Salvador and about 715 miles southwest of Bermuda. It had maximum sustained winds of 60 mph and was moving north at 3 mph. It’s minimum central barometric pressure was 29.36 inches. Tropical storm-force winds extend outward from Cristobal up to 140 miles, primarily to the east of the center.
Cristobal is expected to turn toward the north-northeast with slightly faster forward speed, moving it away from the Bahamas later today and through the night. This motion, with a further increase in forward speed, is expected on Tuesday.
According to the NHC’s long-range forecast, Cristobal is expected to pass by the North Carolina coast Wednesday and Thursday. As of the 8 a.m. forecast, it’s expected to stay well offshore. Casey Dail, meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Newport, confirmed that little effects from the storm were expected to reach North Carolina.
“At this time, the only effects could be some increased rip current risk and elevated seas,” she said.
Gradual strengthening of the storm is forecast during the next 48 hours. The storm could become a hurricane in the next couple days.
As of 8 a.m., Cristobal is expected to produce 4-8 inches of total rainfall over the Turks and Caicos Islands, as well as portions of the southeastern and central Bahamas through Tuesday, with isolated amounts around 12 inches possible.
A tropical storm warning is in effect for the central Bahamas, including Cat Island, the Exumas, Long Island, Rum Cay and San Salvador. Tropical storm conditions could occur over portions of the warning area through this morning. Strong, gusty winds are also possible over portions of the southeastern Bahamas, Turks and Caicos Islands this morning. This warning area doesn't include the Outer Banks.
Reporter Mike Shutak contributed to this article.