Tropical Storm Chantal Might Reach Florida Monday

You might want to think twice before forcing your local bank teller to cash last week's paycheck in all singles to hoard in your emergency bunker. Forecasters are still unsure if Tropical Storm Chantal will make it to Florida. If it does arrive, tentatively expect to have your Hypnotiq-fueled hurricane party set for Monday.

Right now, the stripper-named storm is picking up speed, reaching wind gusts of 54 mph as it moved over St. Lucia this morning. In order to be classified as a bonafide hurricane, the third (and best) named storm of the Atlantic season will need to work it a little faster. The exact threshold is 74 mph, or faster than the speed of a cheetah, according to NASA's supercute guide for the less-numerically inclined.

The National Weather Service reports a 23 percent chance of that happening when Chantal reaches Hispaniola. However, meteorologists are also saying that interaction with the island's mountainous landscape might cause her to downgrade again to a tropical storm. Chantal might even dissipate before hitting the Bahamas.

Tropical storm warnings are in effect in for St. Lucia, Barbados, Dominica, Martinique, Puerto Rico, and the southern coast of the Dominican Republic.

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Allie Conti was a fellow at Miami New Times and a staff writer for New Times Broward-Palm Beach, where her writing won awards from the Florida Press Club and the Society of Professional Journalists. She's now the senior staff writer at Vice and a contributor to the New York Times, New York Magazine, and the Atlantic.