Hurricane Cristobal

Tropical Storm Cristobal is pictured near Turks and Caicos Islands in this Aug. 24 NASA handout satellite image. (NASA, Reuters / August 26, 2014)

Cristobal reached hurricane status late Monday, and though the storm is expected to stay clear of land, National Hurricane Center forecasters warned of dangerous rip currents expected up the East Coast.

The cyclone was about 600 miles southwest of Bermuda as of 8 a.m. Tuesday, with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph making it a weak hurricane. It is expected to strengthen some over the next couple of days.

But while it is forecast to pass safely between the U.S. Atlantic coast and Bermuda, it is expected to churn up dangerous surf in Ocean City and elsewhere, according to the hurricane center.

In a forecast advisory from the center, meteorologists wrote:

"SWELLS GENERATED BY CRISTOBAL ARE AFFECTING PORTIONS OF THE UNITED STATES EAST COAST FROM CENTRAL FLORIDA NORTHWARD TO NORTH CAROLINA...AND WILL SPREAD NORTHWARD LATER THIS WEEK. THESE SWELLS ARE LIKELY TO CAUSE LIFE-THREATENING SURF AND RIP CURRENT CONDITIONS."

Similar conditions developed as Hurricane Bertha took a nearly identical course earlier this month, leading to a spike in rescue activity at Ocean City beaches.

Forecasts suggest Cristobal will pass hundreds of miles well east of Ocean City on Thursday.