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Tropical Storm Chantal Heading For Haiti, Dominican Republic

Chantal mapAccording to warnings issued by the National Hurricane Center on Tuesday night, Tropical Storm Chantal is scheduled to make land fall in Haiti and the Dominican Republic on Wednesday, threatening the Caribbean island nations with dangerous waves, flooding, storm surges and high winds.

According to Usatoday.com:

“The storm was located about 270 miles southeast of Puerto Rico around 5 p.m. EDT Tuesday, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami. The storm had maximum sustained winds of 65 mph, and was moving west-northwest at 26 mph.

The center issued a hurricane watch for the Dominican Republic’s southern coast, with the storm expected to be near or over the country by Wednesday afternoon. Chantal is then expected to be over the southeastern and central Bahamas on Thursday. ”

Dominican and Haitian officials urged those residents in low-lying areas to evacuate, the Associated Press reported. But people in both countries on the island of Hispaniola have resisted calls to abandon their homes.

“The National Hurricane Center projected Chantal to weaken as it makes its way over Hispaniola, where the rough and mountainous terrain of Haiti has ripped apart many marginal storms over the years.

“But with the storm moving at a brisk 26 mph, forecasters give it a good shot at it hanging together enough to regroup into a 50 mph storm as it approaches the Bahamas. From there, the track could churn uncomfortably close to Florida’s Atlantic coast — much like Hurricane Sandy last year, though with nowhere near the size and strength of that monster storm.

“The hurricane center’s 5 p.m. forecast reported the core of Chantal off the Florida coast, but center spokesman Dennis Feltgen said some computer models were beginning to nudge the system west, closer to the coastline. The line should sharpen over the next few days. On the plus side, forecasters give Chantal little chance of turning into a hurricane as it approaches South Florida.” –  Miamiherald.com

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