The National Hurricane Center has placed the Virgin Islands under a Tropical Storm Watch as Chantal continues to churn its way across the Atlantic. A tropical storm watch means that tropical storm conditions could be experienced in the region in the next 48 hours.
“We urge the public to take steps now to ensure they are ready in the event the Territory is impacted by Tropical Storm Chantal,” said VITEMA Director Elton Lewis. “Make sure your preparedness includes assembling an emergency supply kit stocked with at least three days’ worth of essential items and a plan to contact and communicate with family. Special consideration should be given to young children, the elderly and pets.”
“Everyone should also monitor local radio and TV broadcasts for weather updates on Tropical Storm Chantal and for directions from local emergency management officials,” Lewis said.
At 5 p.m. the center of Tropical Storm Chantal was located near latitude 11.8 degrees north, longitude 53.9 degrees west, about 839 miles east southeast of the Virgin Islands,. The storm is moving west-northwest near 26 miles per hour with maximum sustained winds near 45 miles per hour with higher gusts. Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 60 miles from the center. Some strengthening is forecast during the next few days.
On its present track, Tropical Storm Chantal will make its closest point of approach to the Virgin Islands at about midnight on Tuesday, passing approximately 130 miles south-southwest of St. Croix. Chantal is expected to be a tropical storm with winds to 65 miles per hour near the center when it passes to the south of the Virgin Islands.
The center of Chantal should reach the Lesser Antilles on Tuesday morning, move into the Eastern Caribbean Sea later on Tuesday and be near Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic on Wednesday.
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. The storm surge will raise water levels by as much as 1 to 3 feet above normal tide levels in the Leeward and Windward Islands and Puerto Rico. Near the coast the surge will be accompanied by dangerous waves.
According to the National Hurricane Center, a tropical storm warning has been issued for Barbados, Dominica, St. Lucia, Guadeloupe, Martinique and Puerto Rico.
A tropical storm watch is in effect for the US Virgin Islands, Vieques and Culebra are also under tropical storm watch, along with the southern coast of Dominican Republic, from Cabo Engano to the border with Haiti.
A tropical storm warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area within 24 hours. A tropical storm watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible somewhere in the watch area within 24 to 36 hours.