JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The National Hurricane Center, as of the 2 p.m. Wednesday advisory, has for some reason maintained Chantal as a tropical storm, even though satellite and radar show that the storm has become an open wave.
Since Chantal is still officially a tropical storm, a tropical storm watch has been issued for the island of Jamaica as the storm approaches them by late Wednesday night.
Chantal is in a very disruptive environment with strong wind shear that is literally ripping the storm apart. The storm has also been wrapped up in dry air, which has helped to expose the center of circulation meaning no thunderstorms exist around the area of low pressure. The other impeding factor is its blistering speed across the Caribbean Sea; some 30 mph. This keeps the storm from becoming vertically ''stacked'' and organizing. The final nail in the coffin for Chantal is the abundance of land and mountains that will soon finish off any hope of this storm organizing.
There has been much speculation as to what might happen with Chantal and what the impacts on Jacksonville might be by the coming weekend. I believe some of those questions now have answers.
The impact on Jacksonville will be very minimal thanks to a farther west track than earlier predicted. While a turn to the north is still anticipated, the storm will turn north over Cuba and ride up the spine of the state over land. That will effectively end any chance of this storm being anything other than a rain nuisance for our area by the weekend.
The current thinking out of the Hurricane Center is that the storm will be ''post-tropical'' by the time the storm approaches Jacksonville from the south. That means an increase in rain chances both Saturday and Sunday and mostly cloudy to overcast skies. Rainfall rates could be in the 1 to 3 inch range but this will be fine tuned as we continue to track this particular storm.