The very latest:
Its aiming for the Lesser Antilles, roughly 650 miles East of Barbados.
Tropical storm warnings and watches are in place for Barbados, Dominica, St. Lucia, Martinique, Guadalupe, and St. Vincent.
As of Monday morning, Martinique radar is only picking up a few sea breeze driven showers.
As it has since it developed, "Chantal" is moving extremely fast, at around 26 mph.
What to Expect:
By Tuesday, all the islands mentioned above should begin to see the winds pick up to around 45 mph. Rain totals are expected between 2-4 to possibly 6 inches. This could cause land and mudslides in some areas.
As I noted in my last blog entry, "Chantal" will have trouble getting stronger due to its fast forward speed. Tropical systems need to travel a little slower (around 10-15 mph), in order for them to absorb all the heat from the ocean. This heat is like gasoline, letting their engines grow stronger. But at its present rate, its bypassing all the pit stops.
IF, it can manage to slow down, there is a chance it could grow to hurricane strength in 48 hours.
If the system travels over Hispaniola, this could be bad news for our neighbors in Dominican Republic and Haiti. They could get hit with strong winds and torrential downpours, but the Dominican has the highest terrain in all of the Caribbean and this could weaken the system significantly.
"Chantal" could face el Pico Duarte, which stands around 10,000 feet tall. This would act as a huge wall disrupting its circulation and tearing its structure apart. This could deliver a much weaker system as it leaves Haiti and heads for Cuba. We will have to wait and see.
Most of the heavy rain and gusty winds remain on the Northern side of "Chantal".
It is currently a nuisance for the shipping industry with 8 to 10 foot swells and winds already in the 20 to 30 knot range.
All the models aim the system towards Eastern Cuba by Mid week. After that.... it appears that the jet stream is scheduled to move out of the Nation's midsection and move to the East Coast. If this happens it will act as a shield keeping "Chantal" offshore. This means a Bahamas impact. If the jet is late, then we could still see "Chantal" visit us here in South Florida. How strong it will be remains to be determined by its interaction with Hispaniola.