Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Hurricane Chris (2012)

Storm Active: June 19-22

On June 17, a circulation began to form from a front situated over the western Atlantic. The low gradually deepened over the following day, and caused scattered shower activity in the area around Bermuda. As the low pressure center became disentangled from the front to its east, its circulation became better organized, through convection decreased.

By June 19, gale force winds were being generated near the low's center and the low assumed some tropical characteristics, though the center remained devoid of cloud cover. Later that day, as the system moved to the northeast, the northwest quadrant developed more significant convection, ultimately allowing it to be classified as Tropical Storm Chris.

Chris tracked generally eastward with no significant change in strength over the next day, but convection became more evenly distributed about the center. The motion of the system increased on June 20, and it underwent strengthening as outflow improved. During the morning of June 21, Chris began its turn to the north as it orbited a upper-level low to its north. By this time, a distinct eyewall and the beginnings of an eye had formed. As a result, the cyclone was upgraded to a hurricane, just above the 40°N latitude line. It soon reached its peak intensity of 75 mph winds and a pressure of 987 mb.

Chris began to move over cooler waters later that day, and weakened as its convection diminished, becoming a tropical storm again. It transitioned into an extratropical cyclone on June 22. Having formed into a tropical storm at 39.3°N, the cyclone was the second most northerly forming Atlantic storm on record. Forming on June 19, it also was among the earliest occurrences of a third named storm of the season in the Atlantic basin.

Hurricane Chris at minimal category 1 intensity. At its peak, Chris attained a distinct eye feature, despite only marginally favorable conditions.

Track of Chris.

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