Third tropical system of season no threat to land
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — Tropical Storm Chris has formed in the Atlantic as the third named storm of the season, but will move out to sea and is no threat to land. The system formed to the southeast of the Canadian Maritime provinces and won’t hold on to tropical characteristics for long, according to the National Hurricane Center, which forecasts that the system will become extra-tropical in 36 hours.
For now, Chris has maximum sustained winds of 45 mph, and those winds may increase by 5 mph after the system becomes extra-tropical. The storm is expected to turn east, then northeast as it speeds away from land.
The naming of the system drew inflammatory comments on social media channels from weather pundits critical of NOAA. It seems that even the seemingly basic task of deciding, with scientific criteria, what constitutes a tropical system has become political in some quarters. The criticism and scoffing is almost always linked with attacks on global warming science, and as often as not with indirect defamation of federal scientists.
Those criticisms, of course, leave out that fact that the classification of systems is based on precise meteorological criteria having nothing to do with ideology.
For Chris, the NHC simply said the convection associated with the low has enough organization and coverage to be classified as a tropical cyclone, then went on to cite the classification systems and other facts, including a symetric — albeit shallow — warm core, and a widespread area of tropical storm force winds.
The storm is moving over marginally warm waters of the southern edge of the Gulf Stream, thus it’s tropical storm strength despite the northerly latitude.