Tropical storm Chantal forms, takes aim at Caribbean islands

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The third named tropical storm of the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season has formed in the Atlantic ocean and is heading west-northwestward towards the Caribbean Lesser Antilles. Tropical storm Chantal currently carries maximum sustained winds of 40mph, is expected to intensify and track through the Caribbean islands towards the U.S. mainland.

Tropical storm Chantal formed in the tropical Atlantic ocean overnight, from a fast-moving depression which had been heading for the Caribbean. Chantal actually skipped being classified as a tropical depression, moving from an investigated low-pressure area to a tropical storm rapidly.

The first landmass in the path of tropical storm Chantal is the Caribbean Lesser Antilles of Barbados, Dominica, Saint Lucia, Guadeloupe and Martinique, all of which are now under tropical storm warnings. After crossing those islands, tropical storm Chantal is expected to curve slowly northwards, aiming at Haiti or the Dominican Republic, followed by Cuba, the Bahamas and then perhaps on to the U.S. southeast coast.

As a fast-moving storm it is very uncertain how much Chantal may intensify on her track through the Caribbean. At the moment the forecast is for Chantal to have maximum sustained winds of up to 60mph by the time the storm reaches the Lesser Antilles. From there on Chantal is shrouded in uncertainty, with some models showing the storm slowing down and losing intensity, while others suggest further intensification.

It’s going to be extremely difficult to forecast Chantal’s track with any certainty until the storm has passed the Lesser Antilles and moved into more open water beyond them. Most forecast models show Chantal tracking through the eastern Caribbean islands towards the U.S, either Florida or north of Florida, but a few models show Chantal taking a more westerly track into the Gulf of Mexico. It’s too early to tell whether Chantal will become hurricane Chantal as it moves through the Caribbean.

Tropical storm Chantal’s maximum sustained winds are currently 40mph and the minimum central pressure is 1007mb. Some strengthening is forecast by the time Chantal reaches the Antilles. We wil keep you updated as Chantal progresses through the Caribbean. Visit our 2013 Atlantic hurricane season page to keep up with the latest insights.

Tropical storm Chantal’s forecast track:

Tropical storm Chantal forecast path, or track

Tropical storm Chantal forecast path, or track

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