Tropical Storm Chantal kept speeding toward the eastern Caribbean Sea Monday night, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said.
As of 11 p.m., Chantal had maximum sustained winds of 50 mph as it moved west-northwest at 26 mph about 235 miles east-southeast of Barbados.
A tropical storm watch was issued for Haiti, and the government of the Dominican Republic replaced its tropical storm watch with a tropical storm warning for its southern coast from Cabo Engano west to the Haitian border.
Chantal strengthened slightly Monday after forming late Sunday over the Atlantic.
A tropical storm warning was in effect for Barbados, Dominica, Saint Lucia, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Puerto Rico and the southern coast of the Dominican Republic from Cabo Engano west to the Haitian border.
A tropical storm watch was in effect for St. Vincent, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Vieques and Culebra, and the northern coast of the Dominican Republic from north of Cabo Engano to Cabo Frances Viejo.
The center of Chantal is expected to move through the Lesser Antilles early Tuesday before moving into the eastern Caribbean Sea later on Tuesday. Some strengthening is expected over the next 48 hours.
Reconnaissance aircraft collected data on Chantal Monday afternoon, according to the NHC.
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Chantal is expected to bring between two and four inches of rain over the Leeward and Windward Islands, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and portion of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Maximum amounts of six inches are possible, the National Hurricane Center said.
While South Florida remains in the long-range forecast cone, there is a lot of uncertainty five days out.
There is the potential for upper-level wind shear or land interaction that could significantly weaken, or even dissipate, the tropical storm. At this point, the official forecast never calls for Chantal to reach hurricane strength.
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