By Caribbean News Now contributor
MIAMI, USA — Tropical Storm Chantal strengthened on Monday as the system continued to move rapidly towards the Lesser Antilles. A tropical storm warning has been issued for Puerto Rico.
According to the National Hurricane Center in Miami, at 5:00 pm EDT on Monday, Chantal was located about 390 miles east-southeast of Barbados, moving toward the west-northwest near 26 mph. This general motion is expected to continue for the next couple of days.
On the forecast track, the centre of Chantal should reach the Lesser Antilles early on Tuesday and move into the eastern Caribbean Sea later on Tuesday, approaching the Dominican Republic on Wednesday. Maximum sustained winds are near 45 mph, with higher gusts. Some strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 60 miles from the centre.
A tropical storm warning is in effect for Barbados, Dominica, St Lucia, Martinique, Guadeloupe, and Puerto Rico. A tropical storm watch is in effect for the US Virgin Islands, Vieques and Culebra, the southern coast of the Dominican Republic from Cabo Engano to the border with Haiti. Interests in Haiti and eastern Cuba should monitor the progress of Chantal.
Tropical storm conditions are expected to reach portions of the Windward Islands on Tuesday and reach Puerto Rico on Wednesday. Tropical storm conditions are possible in the Dominican Republic by late Wednesday.
A storm surge will raise water levels by as much as 1 to 3 feet above normal tide levels in the Leeward Islands, Windward Islands and Puerto Rico. Near the coast, the surge will be accompanied by dangerous waves.
Chantal is expected to produce rain accumulations of 2 to 4 inches over the Leeward and Windward Islands, with maximum amounts of 6 inches possible.