Tropical Storm Chantal has formed in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and is racing west at 26 miles an hour toward the Lesser Antilles. This storm could eventually affect parts of the mainland United States by the end of the workweek.
The system developed as a strong tropical wave with tropical storm force winds before finally developing a closed circulation late Sunday night, thus bypassing the tropical depression phase and becoming Tropical Storm Chantal straightaway with winds now topping 40 mph.
Tropical storm warnings have been issued for Barbados, Dominica and Saint Lucia. A tropical storm watch is in effect for Saint Vincent. Additional islands in the Lesser Antilles may go under watches and warnings Monday as Chantal approaches.
After crossing the Lesser Antilles, Chantal is expected to affect portions of the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Cuba.
Residents in the mainland U.S. will have to pay attention to this system. The current forecast takes the center of Chantal over the Bahamas by Friday, but given the margin of error in the forecast, parts of Florida could be affected as well at the end of the workweek.
As of right now it looks like Tropical Storm Chantal may weaken back to a Depression while moving towards the Bahamas on Friday.