By SANCHESKA BROWN
Tribune Staff Reporter
TROPICAL STORM Chantel is expected to weaken and be reclassified as a tropical depression before it hits the Bahamas, according to the latest weather update from the Meteorology Department.
Meteorologist Neil Armstrong told The Tribune that the eye of the storm is not expected to pass through the Bahamas, and that Chantel is weakening significantly.
“On its new projected track, the eye will not pass over us. However, we will still experience some bad weather, especially in the Turks and Caicos Islands and the southeast Bahamas. They will experience cloudy periods over the next 24 to 48 hours,” he said.
“New Providence and the southwest Bahamas will also feel some rain during this time. So we can expect some weather over the next few days. Really it won’t be all clear, if it continues on this track, until Saturday morning. Its new track has it going over Cuba and if it keeps in the west, we will not be hit. Although the storm is erratic at this time, it is expected to weaken to a depression after it crosses Cuba.”
Up to press time, Tropical Storm warnings were issued for the southeast Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands. These islands include Inagua, Mayaguana, Acklins, Ragged Island and Crooked Islands. A Tropical Storm warning means that Tropical Storm conditions could be experienced in the mentioned areas within 36 hours.
A Tropical Storm watch was also issued for the Central Bahamas. These islands include Exuma and its cays, Long Island, Rum Cay, San Salvador and Cat Island. A Tropical Storm watch means that Tropical Storm conditions could be experienced in 48 hours.
However, Mr Armstrong said the alerts could be cancelled by early this morning as Chantel continues to weaken.
Small craft operators should remain in port and continue to monitor the movement of Chantel.