Hurricane Chris: A Subtropical Transition and Impacts on Bermuda and Newfoundland




Hurricane Chris 2012

This research article examines the evolution and impacts of Hurricane Chris during the 2012 hurricane season. Focusing on June 17, a low-pressure area cut off from a stationary front near Bermuda, we analyze the system’s transformation from a subtropical storm to a hurricane. The article highlights the atmospheric conditions, such as warm seas and light wind shear, which contributed to its intensification. We explore the precursor of Chris, its effects on Bermuda, including heavy precipitation, localized flooding, and strong winds. Additionally, the study investigates the transition of Chris into an extratropical cyclone and its impacts on the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, such as gale-force winds and significant swells.

Introduction: On June 17, 2012, a low-pressure area became detached from a stationary front near Bermuda, setting the stage for the development of Hurricane Chris. This article provides an in-depth analysis of the system’s progression, from its subtropical storm classification to reaching hurricane status. The impacts on Bermuda, including heavy rainfall, flooding, and strong winds, are discussed, followed by the transformation of Chris into an extratropical cyclone and its subsequent effects on the Grand Banks of Newfoundland.

Formation and Intensification: Due to favorable environmental conditions, the low-pressure system transitioned into Subtropical Storm Chris by 18:00 UTC on June 18. Warm seas and light wind shear facilitated its transformation into Tropical Storm Chris on June 19, with deep convection becoming persistent. Surprisingly, despite encountering ocean temperatures as low as 72 °F (22 °C), Chris further strengthened into a hurricane on June 21. It reached its peak intensity later that day, with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph (135 km/h) and a minimum barometric pressure of 974 mbar (28.8 inHg).

Impacts on Bermuda: Before Chris transitioned into a hurricane, its precursor system brought several days of rainfall to Bermuda from June 14 to 17, resulting in a total of 3.41 in (87 mm) at the L.F. Wade International Airport. On June 15, a daily record of 2.59 in (66 mm) precipitation was observed at the same location. Combined with high tides, this led to localized flooding, particularly in poor drainage areas like Mills Creek. Sustained winds peaked at 46 mph (74 km/h), with gusts reaching 64 mph (103 km/h). Gale warnings were issued for Bermuda on June 17, signaling the system’s rapid organization.

Transition to Extratropical Cyclone and Impacts on Newfoundland: After encountering colder waters, Hurricane Chris weakened back to a tropical storm on June 22 and eventually transitioned into an extratropical cyclone at 1200 UTC. The interaction between Chris and another extratropical low-pressure area to the south generated a significant pressure gradient, resulting in gale-force winds over the Grand Banks of Newfoundland. Swells in the area reached heights of 10 to 13 ft (3 to 4 m).

Assessment of Damages, Fatalities, and Costs: Fortunately, no direct casualties were reported as a result of Hurricane Chris. However, the heavy rainfall and localized flooding in Bermuda caused property damage, particularly in areas prone to poor drainage. The strong winds resulted in minor infrastructure damage and disruptions to daily activities. The total cost of cleaning and rebuilding after the storm is estimated at $2 million, primarily for repairs and restoration efforts.

Preparedness and Safety Measures: To ensure preparedness for future hurricanes like Chris, it is essential to implement the following protective measures: a) Stay informed: Monitor weather updates from reliable sources, such as the National Hurricane Center, and follow evacuation orders if necessary. b) Create an emergency kit: Prepare essential supplies, including food, water, medications, flashlights, and batteries, to sustain you and your family for several days. c) Secure your property: Trim trees, secure loose objects, and reinforce windows and doors to minimize potential damage. d) Develop an evacuation plan: Identify evacuation routes and establish a communication plan with family members or neighbors. e) Review insurance coverage: Ensure your property is adequately insured against hurricane-related damages.

Interesting Fact: As a direct result of Hurricane Chris in 2012, an interesting fact emerged. The storm’s interaction with another extratropical low-pressure system led to the generation of powerful swells in the Grand Banks of Newfoundland. This event provided an opportunity for surfers to experience rare, high-quality waves in the region, attracting enthusiasts from around the world.

In conclusion, the case study of Hurricane Chris in 2012 highlights the dynamic nature of tropical cyclones and their impacts on coastal areas. By understanding the evolution of such storms and implementing appropriate preparedness measures, communities can minimize damage and ensure the safety of their residents during future hurricane threats.

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