(Reuters) - Beachgoers in North Carolina should beware of dangerous rip currents as Tropical Storm Chris spins along the mid-Atlantic coast, Governor Roy Cooper warned on Monday after a man drowned in rough surf just north of Nags Head.
Chris, which formed off the North Carolina coast early Sunday, was blasting maximum sustained winds of 60 miles per hour (96 kph) on Monday and was expected to become a hurricane by Tuesday, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.
At 11 a.m. EST (1500 GMT), it was edging northward at a speed of at least 2 mph (3 kph) about 215 miles (345 km) south-southeast off the coast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.
“We are saddened that rough waters have tragically claimed a life, and I urge people along our coast to be cautious, especially if they plan to be in and on the water,” Cooper said in a statement, adding he did not expect major impacts from the storm.
The NHC said in its advisory that surf swells were expected to increase and affect parts of the coasts of North Carolina and the mid-Atlantic states in the next few days, with the potential of creating life-threatening conditions.
An unidentified man in his mid-60s drowned on Saturday in the town of Kill Devil Hills, about six miles (10 km) north of Nags Head, after being caught in a rough surf current caused by Chris, town officials said in a press release.
The swimmer was found unresponsive by lifeguards on a beach that had been closed to swimming shortly after being reported missing. He was later pronounced dead at a local hospital.
Many North Carolina beaches were closed to swimming on Monday due to heavy surf and dangerous rip currents, according to a statement from the governor’s office. Local officials were preparing to deal with any minor flooding or overwash.
Tropical Storm Chris was expected to remain well off the U.S. coast, and latest projections show it possibly making landfall in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia late Wednesday or early Thursday.
Reporting by Gina Cherelus in New York; Editing by James Dalgleish