Tropical Storm Chantal weakens, could impact Florida

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Untidtled-8A weakening Tropical Storm Chantal isn’t much to look at, but could make a mess of the Dominican Republic and Haiti on Wednesday.

The disorganized system, flying through the Caribbean at 29 mph, could dump up to 10 inches of rain on the two nations that share the island of Hispaniola, the National Hurricane Center said.

Chantal’s tracking map shows the system slamming into Cuba on Thursday, before taking a hard turn to the north and skirting the Florida coastline on Friday and Saturday.

The storm was about 140 miles (225 km) south of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic early Wednesday.

Chantal’s winds slipped to 45 mph early Wednesday, according to forecasters, who said the system may degenerate further into a tropical wave.

Even as it weakens, tropical storm warnings remain in effect for the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Turks and Caicos and the southeastern Bahamas.

Chantal is expected to produce rain accumulations of 3 to 6 inches over Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the southeastern Bahamas, the Dominican Republic and Haiti, the hurricane center said. Isolated amounts of 10 inches are possible over Hispaniola.

In addition, a storm surge could raise water levels as much as 1 to 2 feet above normal tide the warning areas. Dangerous waves will accompany the surge, forecasters said.