Tropical Storm Chantal surface wind field. NHC/NOAA graphic
By Caribbean News Now contributor
MIAMI, USA -- Tropical Storm Chantal weakened overnight Tuesday and may have degenerated into a tropical wave. However, a tropical storm warning remains in effect for the entire coast of the Dominican Republic, the entire coast of Haiti, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and the southeastern Bahamas. A tropical storm watch remains in effect for the central Bahamas. Interests in eastern Cuba and the northwestern Bahamas should monitor the progress of Chantal.
An Air Force hurricane hunter plane was en route on Wednesday morning to determine the status of Chantal.
According to the National Hurricane Center in Miami, at 8:00 am EDT on Wednesday, Chantal was located about 155 miles south-southwest of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, moving towards the west at 29 mph. This general motion, with a decrease in forward speed, is expected through Wednesday night. If Chantal remains a tropical cyclone, a gradual turn toward the northwest is expected on Thursday.
On the current forecast track, the centre will be moving near or to the south of Hispaniola on Wednesday and over eastern Cuba on Thursday. However, if Chantal degenerates into a tropical wave, the remnants will move rapidly westward.
Maximum sustained winds were near 45 mph, with higher gusts. These winds are confined to areas of heavy thunderstorms to the north and east of the centre. Weakening is forecast during the next 48 hours. Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 90 miles to the north and east of the centre.
Tropical storm conditions could affect the Dominican Republic on Wednesday morning and Haiti later in the day. Tropical storm conditions could occur over portions of the southeastern Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands Wednesday night and over portions of the central Bahamas by early Thursday.
A storm surge, accompanied by dangerous waves, will raise water levels by as much as 1 to 2 feet in the tropical storm warning area.
Chantal is expected to produce total rain accumulations 3 to 6 inches over Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, the southeastern Bahamas, the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Isolated maximum amounts of 10 inches are possible over Hispaniola.