Tropical Storm Chantal formed in the tropical Atlantic Ocean late Sunday night (Eastern U.S. time) and is racing west toward the Lesser Antilles.
The system developed as a strong tropical wave with tropical storm force winds before finally developing a closed circulation late Sunday night, thus bypassing the tropical depression phase and becoming Tropical Storm Chantal straightaway.
Tropical storm warnings have been issued for Barbados, Dominica, Saint Lucia, Martinique and Guadeloupe. A tropical storm watch is in effect for Saint Vincent. Additional islands in the Lesser Antilles may go under watches and warnings Monday as Chantal approaches. Tropical storm conditions are expected in these areas by early Tuesday.
After crossing the Lesser Antilles, Chantal is expected to affect portions of the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Cuba .
Residents in the mainland U.S. will have to pay attention to this system. The current forecast takes the center of Chantal over the Bahamas Friday into early Saturday, but given the margin of error in the forecast, parts of Florida could be affected as well at the end of the workweek.