How Tropical Storm Chris could affect Massachusetts

"They may not see it, but we would advise that beach-goers heed the lifeguards' warnings."

BOSTON, MA - 07/07/2018 Juan Cruz Mondragon, a lifegaurd at Revere Beach for the past year, takes part in a surfboard drill. After 7 drownings this summer, a closer look is being taken at the safety of Massachusetts beaches, ponds and lakes. Erin Clark for the Boston Globe
A lifeguard and child at Revere Beach last week. –Erin Clark / The Boston Globe

Forecasters are warning beach-goers to be cautious in the ocean as the region looks ahead to another week of hot, sunny weather.

Tropical Storm Chris, which is expected to become a hurricane Tuesday, will likely remain offshore, but the storm could still bring high surf and an increased risk of rip tides to the Massachusetts coastline, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Kim Buttrick.

“It can be a silent killer,” Buttrick said of the potential for dangerous undertows, which are often undetectable on the surface. “Even seasoned swimmers can be caught off-guard.”

The state’s ocean-facing beaches, such as the South Coast, Outer Cape, and the islands, could see the greatest effects.

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As of late Monday morning, Buttrick said Chris was 250 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, with sustained winds of 60 miles per hour.

“As Chris is sitting stationary and spiraling, it’s churning up the ocean,” Buttrick said. “And that can translate north toward southern New England.”

The storm is expected to begin moving northeast late Tuesday and pass well southeast of New England on Wednesday and Thursday.

On those days, temperatures are expected to be in the 70s along the coast, with 80s further inland, according to the weather service. There’s a low risk of rain on the far-southeast New England coast, but the weather is expected to be mostly dry and comfortable.

With a new moon this Friday, the storm’s pass coincides with a period of already astronomical high tides, meaning even higher wave action at the beach, Buttrick said. The highest risk of perilous undertows also occurs between the high and low tides.

They may not see it, but we would advise that beach-goers heed the lifeguards’ warnings,” she said.

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