"Zombie" Chris a Record-Breaking Tropical Storm
By By Kristina Pydynowski, senior meteorologist
June 23, 2012, 2:27:34 AM EDT
8:00 a.m. EDT Friday UPDATE: Chris finally lost its tropical characteristics over the northern Atlantic.
Chris was labeled as a "zombie" tropical storm for the same reason that the system broke a tropical weather record.
Chris acquired the description "zombie" after AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Rob Miller stated, "the storm is alive, but it should not be."
Chris organized into a tropical storm Tuesday afternoon over water that is far from warm enough for development and at a latitude that is typically unheard of in June.
The storm further strengthened into the Atlantic Basin's first hurricane of the season early Thursday with a pronounced eye showing up in satellite images. Later Thursday, "zombie" Chris was downgraded, once again becoming a tropical storm.
Chris first took shape at a latitude of 39.3 degrees north, the same latitude that southern New Jersey sits.
Never before since record-keeping began in 1851 has a tropical storm formed that far north in the Atlantic this early in hurricane season, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Tropical Storm Bret recently held that record after developing due east of northern North Carolina in late June 1981.
When Chris took shape, it also marked the third earliest formation of the third tropical storm in the Atlantic Basin. Only during the years of 1887 and 1959 has such development occurred earlier.
Tropical storms have developed north of a latitude of 40.0 degrees, but not until August or later when the northern Atlantic waters were warmer.
It would be less surprising for a subtropical storm to take shape in the far northern Atlantic in June since subtropical storms only possess partial tropical characteristics.
Later today, the AccuWeather.com Hurricane Center expects Chris to lose its tropical characteristic as it merges with another non-tropical storm system.
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