The center of Tropical Storm Chantal was passing south of Puerto Rico late Tuesday night and had increased its speed to 28 mph, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said.
As of 11 p.m., Chantal had maximum sustained winds of 60 mph – down from 65 mph several hours before – as it moved west-northwest at 28 mph. It was about 215 miles south-southeast of San Juan, Puerto Rico and about 330 miles southeast of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic.
After passing south of Puerto Rico overnight, the storm was expected to be near or over Hispaniola by Wednesday afternoon, the National Hurricane Center said.
The National Hurricane Center had said earlier that Chantal would be near hurricane strength before it reached Hispaniola, but in its latest advisory it said that little change in strength was now expected before the storm reached the island shared by the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Weakening was forecast for after that.
Currently, the official forecast never calls for Chantal to reach hurricane strength. But a hurricane watch was in effect for Barahona to Samana in the Dominican Republic.
The storm was expected to be near eastern Cuba early Thursday and over the southeastern or central Bahamas later on Thursday.
The forecast cone shifted slightly to the east early Tuesday, removing most of South Florida from Chantal’s path.
By Thursday Chantal could potentially bring tropical storm conditions to the southeastern Bahamas, parts of the central Bahamas, and the Turks and Caicos, the National Hurricane Center said.
There are still many variables that would ultimately dictate the location and intensity of Chantal three to five days from now and South Florida residents should continue to monitor the storm.
Chantal is expected to continue moving to the west-northwest over the next day or so, with a gradual decrease in speed. A turn toward the northwest was expected by Thursday.
A tropical storm warning was in effect for the entire coasts of Haiti and the Dominican Republic, as well as Puerto Rico, the Turks and Caicos and the southeastern Bahamas.
A tropical storm watch was in effect for the U.S. Virgin Islands, Vieques and Culebra and the central Bahamas.
Tropical storm conditions were expected across portions of Puerto Rico overnight and early Wednesday, and in the Dominican Republic Wednesday morning. Tropical storm conditions are expected in Haiti by late Wednesday.
Chantal is expected to produce between 3-6 inches of rain over Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the southeastern Bahamas, the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Maximum amounts of 10 inches are possible over Hispaniola.
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