A tropical depression off the coast has strengthened. Here's what to expect this week

Tropical Storm Chris
Tropical Storm Chris

A once tropical depression off the coast of the Carolinas now has a proper name, and could possibly turn into a hurricane, the National Weather Service reported Sunday.

Tropical Storm Chris strengthened from a tropical depression on Sunday morning and is expected to increase rip currents this week along the Grand Strand, according to the NWS in Wilmington.

The storm was about 160 miles east of Cape Fear, North Carolina, on Sunday morning, the NWS reported.

A stronger-than-normal longshore current is likely in the early part of the week, said Steve Pfaff, NWS warning coordination meteorologist.

"This current could move from north to south along the beach to the persistent northerly winds along the coast," he said. "The bulk of rainfall with Chris is forecast to remain offshore along with the strongest winds."

The storm will linger off the North Carolina coast through Monday, and then begin northeast late Monday night through Friday, the NWS reports. The tropical storm could strengthen into a hurricane as it moves away to the northeast.

The NWS issued a beach hazards statement for Horry County on Sunday. The weather service advises people to use caution when in or near the water, and to check with lifeguards before going into the ocean during these times.

Hannah Strong: 843-444-1765, @HannahLStrong

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