Our third named storm of the season is Tropical Storm Chantal in the southern Atlantic near 10 degrees north. The National Hurricane Center designated Chantal last night as it began to form a surface circulation southeast of the Lesser Antilles.
Chantal is moving quickly to the west-northwest and should move into the Caribbean within a couple days. Fortunately, wind shear is predicted to be relatively high and storms that move rapidly the way Chantal is doing don't tend to intensify the way slower-moving storms do. That doesn't mean we shouldn't be paying attention. Tropical storms are nothing if not predictable.
The NHC is calling for fairly rapid movement from Chantal along the same path through three to four days. After that, the track should begin to shift more northerly as the storm moves through a break in high pressure over the eastern Gulf of Mexico. All the forecasting models are in strikingly good agreement with this track all the way through day five, moving Chantal north across Cuba or Haiti and east of Florida.
Chantal is also not considered a serious threat to develop into a hurricane thanks to its rapid movement and the presence of fairly high wind shear later in the forecast period. It would appear the biggest threat from Chantal will be from rainfall, particularly in mountainous regions of Cuba and in Haiti, where deforestation has created conditions for dangerous mudslides.
There is very little threat to our part of the Gulf of Mexico, fortunately.
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