(WLTX) - Tropical Storm Chantal has weakened, and its forecast path has shifted considerably overnight.
As of the 8 a.m. Wednesday advisory from the National Hurricane Center, Chantal had maximum sustained winds of 45 miles an hour, down from a high of 65 miles an hour Tuesday. It was still moving at a rapid pace--29 miles an hour--in a west northwestward direction.
Later in the day, Chantal is expected to cross over the island of Hispaniola.
The interaction with land, coupled with unfavorable conditions in front of it, should inhibit strengthening and will lead to weakening. In fact, forecasters now say that it's possible the system could be downgraded to a depression or lose its tropical characteristics altogether in the next day.
The models have given the system more of a north-northwestern turn after is crosses over Hispaniola, A retreating area of high pressure will then allow more of a northwest turn, taking it into the Bahamas. As it does, the system is expected to lose some of its forward speed.
The consensus track from the National Hurricane Center has also shifted dramatically westward, and may be slightly less of a direct threat to South Carolina than believed on Tuesday. Still, it could be a significanty rainmaker for the Palmetto State.
"Right now we don't expect [Chantal] to regain much intensity once it moves through the Bahamas, and if it holds together as a tropical system it may impact in either north Florida or Georgia by late Sunday," says News19 Chief Meteorologist Jim Gandy. "It's something we'll be watching."
It must be stressed, however, that this is still very early, and these models often change dramatically, even over the course of a day or so.
News19 will continue to watch the system, with updates here on WLTX and on-air. You can also get the latest information with the following methods:
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