Chris Becomes First Hurricane of 2012 Season
Still not considered a threat to land, Tropical Storm Chris strengthened to become the first hurricane of the 2012 Hurricane Season Thursday morning
Now with sustained winds of 75 mph, Hurricane Chris is the first hurricane of the 2012 Hurricane Season.
Forecasters do not expect Chris to make landfall anywhere, but the storm that formed far north of most other tropical cyclones continued gaining strength Wednesday and into Thursday, crossing the 75 mph threshold between tropical storms and hurricanes Thursday morning, according to the National Hurricane Center. Chris is now a Category 1 hurricane.
Chris is now about 625 miles southeast of Cape Race, Newfoundland, Canada and heading northeast at about 20 mph. Forecasters predict Chris will make a northward turn later today, followed by a turn to the northwest, then west on Friday. They also expect Chris' forward speed will decrease.
Called a "Zombie" hurricane by Accuweather.com meteorologist Rob Miller because "the storm is alive, and it should not be," Chris has set a new weather record, Accuweather.com reports. Chris is the first tropical cyclone to form as far north as it did this early in a hurricane season since record keeping began in 1851.
Hurricane force winds extend up to 25 miles from the center of the storm and tropical storm force winds reach up to 105 miles from the center, according to the NHC.
Forecasters have also upgraded the chances of an area of low pressure in the eastern Gulf of Mexico producing a tropical cyclone in the next 48 hours from 20 percent to 30 percent, according to the latest NHC update. That area stretches from the Yucatan Peninsula to Southern Florida. The low pressure area is moving slowly north, but forecasters say regardless of whether it develops into an organized storm system heavy rains are expected in the Yucatan, northwest Cuba and southwest Florida.