Tropical storm watch issued for Jamaica as Chantal heads closer
A tropical storm watch has now been issued for Jamaica as a weakening Tropical Storm Chantal moves quickly westward.
The Meteorological service says the system could pass close to Jamaica's eastern coastline.
The tropical storm watch means that tropical storm conditions pose a possible threat to Jamaica within 36 hours.
Jamaica could begin feeling effects of Tropical Storm Chantal as early as tonight as the system passes in the vicinity of the island either as a tropical wave or tropical cyclone.
According to the Met Service, the main threat at this time is for outbreaks of showers and thunderstorms to develop over Jamaica, starting with eastern parishes, during the course of the night and into Thursday.
Periods of strong, gusty winds are also possible in thunderstorms.
Marine operators, primarily north and east of the island are advised to remain on alert as there could be unfavourable sea conditions through to Thursday.
At 10:00 a.m. the centre of Tropical Storm Chantal was located near Latitude 16.5 degrees North, Longitude 72.0 degrees West, or about 470 kilometres (290 miles) east-southeast of Morant Point, Jamaica or 245 kilometres (155 miles) south-southwest of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
The Met Service says the Tropical Storm is moving towards the west near 46 kilometres per hour and this general motion with a decrease in forward speed is expected through tonight.
If Chantal remains a tropical cyclone, a gradual turn toward the northwest is expected on Thursday.
On this forecast track, the centre would remain near or to the south of Hispaniola today and pass close to northeastern Jamaica on its way to central Cuba on Thursday.
If Chantal degenerates into a tropical wave, however, the remnants, including heavy rainfall, are likely to move rapidly westward across Jamaica.
Maximum sustained winds are now near 75 kilometres per hour, with higher gusts.
The Met Service says these winds are confined to areas of heavy thunderstorms to the north and east of the centre.
Weakening is forecast during the next 48 hours.
The next Bulletin on Tropical Storm Chantal will be issued at 2:00 p.m. today.
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