Hurricane Chris Weakens South of Nova Scotia

Hurricane Chris weakened slowly on Wednesday as it passed well south of Nova Scotia.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday the center of Hurricane Chris was located at latitude 39.6°N and longitude 63.0°W.  Chris was moving toward the northeast at 29 m.p.h. (46 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 85 m.p.h. (140 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 100 m.p.h. (160 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 980 mb.

Hurricane Chris exhibited the structure of a hurricane on Thursday, but the clouds did not rise quite as high because it was over slightly cooler water.  There was still an eye at the center of circulation.  Several bands of showers and thunderstorms were revolving around the core of the circulation.  The rainbands were weaker in the southwestern part of the hurricane because some drier air was entering that part of the circulation.  Storms in the core of the circulation were generating upper level divergence.

Hurricane Chris is likely to weaken again on Thursday.  It will start to move over much cooler water where there is less energy in the upper ocean.  In addition an upper level trough over the eastern U.S. will produce southwesterly winds which will blow toward the upper part of the hurricane.  Those winds will cause strong vertical wind shear.  The shear will undercut the upper level divergence and tilt the circulation toward the northeast with height.  Hurricane Chris will start to make a transition to an extratropical cyclone when the effects of the cooler water and stronger shear begin to alter the structure of the hurricane.

The upper level trough was steering Hurricane Chris rapidly toward the northeast and that motion is expected to continue for several more days.  On its anticipated track Hurricane Chris will be near Labrador on Thursday night.  The extratropical cyclone that results from the transition of Hurricane Chris will be near Iceland during the weekend.