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Tropical Storm Chris is expected to become a Category 1 hurricane by Monday night, bringing risky rip currents and high surf off the coasts of North Carolina to Maine.

According to WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner, even if Chris becomes a hurricane, its effects on the North Carolina coast will be minimal.

However, environmental conditions could become "somewhat conducive" for a storm to regenerate later this week when the system is expected to turn north over the Bahamas and the western Atlantic, the National Hurricane Center said.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) - Gusty winds began to hit the eastern Caribbean on Sunday as Tropical Storm Beryl advanced rapidly toward a region struggling to recover from last year's deadly hurricanes.

Although Beryl has lost strength and is expected to gradually weaken, forecasters said it will produce strong winds and heavy rainfall across the Leeward Islands, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Hispaniola through Tuesday.

Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello met with his Cabinet and meteorological experts on Sunday to prepare for Beryl's arrival, Rossello's office said in a statement.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

Watching Tropical Storm Chris and tracking a warm up... It's expected to remain "well offshore" of the USA coast, forecasters say, instead heading for Newfoundland, Canada.

The hurricane center said Beryls remnant had maximum sustained winds of 40 miles per hour (65 kph) late Sunday and was moving west-northwestward at 26 miles per hour (43 kph).

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit urged people to stay inside and observe a curfew. A stationary front draped across the southeast and Atlantic coast will keep Chris out at sea before being swept northeast by a trough/cold front.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Chris was squatting on Monday about 215 miles (345 kilometers) off the coast of the Carolinas. The storm was expected to carry between six to 12 inches rain across the Lesser Antilles region, where the islands are still rebuilding from last year's devastating hurricane season. "However, the bulk of the larger swells and highest risk of rip currents will be found north of Cape Fear".