A newly christened tropical storm hovering just below the Bahamas isn't likely to be a threat to the South Carolina coast, according to a National Weather Service meteorologist.
The tropical depression, which dumped heavy rains and wind on Puerto Rico Saturday, was upgraded to Tropical Storm Cristobal early Sunday after it surpassed sustained winds of 35 mph. As of Sunday evening, the storm was east-southeast of the Bahamas traveling north at about 8 mph with sustained winds of 45 mph.
Mike Emlaw, a meteorologist with the Charleston office of the National Weather Service, said the storm is forecast to slow down over the next couple of days before picking up speed later in the week. Cristobal is expected to eventually turn to the northeast and move away from the Atlantic Coast, Emlaw said. RELATED: For local updates, follow our live weather blog.
"It's expected to stay well east off the coast of the United States," he said. "Unless everything goes haywire, it's not expected to impact the U.S. and certainly not the southeast U.S."
What the storm system is bringing to the Charleston coast over the next few days is an increased risk of rip currents. The National Weather Service Charleston issued a high rip current risk warning on Sunday that is in effect through Monday evening.
Emlaw said Cristobal's presence in the Atlantic Ocean is creating strong swells and wave action that is increasing the chance for dangerous rip currents. If the storm strengthens quickly over the next 24 hours, Emlaw said the area could continue to be at high risk of rip currents through Tuesday.
Charleston is also at risk for minor coastal flooding and beach erosion as a result of the storm. The area was under a coastal flood advisory through 11 p.m. Sunday. No flood advisory had been issued for Monday as of Sunday night.
There is one positive to Cristobal's presence in the Atlantic - cooler weather in the Lowcountry. The storm is pulling in cooler, dryer air which is expected to bring less heat and humidity for the next few days, Emlaw said. Temperatures are expected to peak in the mid-80s through Thursday with mostly sunny skies.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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