5 P.M. UPDATE: Chantal has dissipated into a tropical wave southeast of Jamaica, expected to bring rain to that nation, eastern Cuba and Florida by Friday. The system is still packing some tropical storm-force 45 mph winds.
ORIGINAL POST, 10:23 A.M.: A lot can change in five days, but hurricane forecasters are calling for a weakened Tropical Storm Chantal to track northwestward into the Southeast U.S. after passing through the Caribbean Sea.
The storm was showing poor organization early Wednesday as it heads toward Hispaniola, about 150 miles away, according to the National Hurricane Center. Its maximum sustained winds, which had intensified to 65 mph on Tuesday, dropped to 45 mph.
Forecasters expected the storm could lose tropical storm characteristics later Wednesday.
As a tropical depression, the storm's foecast cone takes it across Cuba and along Florida's Atlantic coast before moving inland into Georgia and the Carolinas by Sunday. It's possible the storm could also regain tropical storm strength even if it weakens to a depression.
A weakened storm could still bring heavy rains and flooding.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun