Tropical Storm Chris forms off the North Carolina coast and further strengthening is likely

A depression that has been lingering off the North Carolina coast has formed into Tropical Storm Chris and is expected to strengthen.

The storm was centered about 150 miles south of Cape Hatteras as of about 5 a.m. Sunday, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The storm is forecast to meander off the coast for the next several days before moving away from the United States.

An acceleration toward the northeast is expected to start on Tuesday. The current maximum sustained winds are about 40 miles per hour.

Swells generated by Chris are expected to increase and affect portions of the coasts of North Carolina and the mid-Atlantic states into early next week.

While there are no current coastal watches or warnings in effect, these swells could cause life-threatening surf and rip-current conditions.

“If you are going to the beach later Sunday or the early part of the week, PLEASE be careful,” FOX8 Meteorlogist Charles Ewing said on Facebook. “Tropical Storm Chris is generating VERY ROUGH surf. There is a moderate to high risk for rip currents. PLEASE listen to the lifeguards on duty.”

Chris could become a hurricane by mid-week, but will head out sea, according to the storm center.