Top winds increased since Friday morning to 40 miles per hour with additional strengthening expected through Saturday. Hurricane forecasters continue to urge residents of the northern Leeward Islands, including Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, to monitor the progress of Tropical Storm Chris.
"Chris is expected to slowly intensify and move north of the Virgin Islands on Monday," Meteorologist Alan Archer said Friday.
The Virgin Islands should experience wind gusts of 30-35 miles per hour as the storm passes to the north of the region. With the storm center forecast to pass north of the area by a few hundred miles, the territory would be on the weaker side of the storm and minimal effects are expected, Archer said.
High level southwesterly winds ahead of the tropical storm will block any rapid development, he added.
The next complete advisory will be issued by the National Hurricane Center at 5 p.m.
Forecasters are also keeping a close watch on a broad area of disturbed weather that could be upgraded to a depression or tropical storm in the next day or two.
"This system is located at 10 degrees north latitude, 37 degrees west longitude, at least six or seven days away from the Eastern Caribbean," Archer said Friday. The area of disturbed weather is located midway between the Cape Verde Islands and the Lesser Antilles, he added.