Tropical Storm Chantal Weakens but Looks More Likely to Hit Florida

Good news, Miami: Tropical Storm Chantal has already lost some pop, with winds decreasing to 45 mph overnight, and is likely to lose more as Haiti's mountainous landscape tears up the storm today.

The bad news is that the storm looks more likely than ever to ruin this weekend in South Florida. The latest track puts the storm just off the coast by Saturday morning.

In its 8 a.m. update on the storm, NOAA's Hurricane Center says Chantal is expected to clip Haiti and move over eastern Cuba today. There's a chance that passing over land might weaken the system to a tropical wave, which would shoot the remaining weather to the west.

If the storm survives as a system, though, it's likely to turn to the northwest and pass along the coast of Florida late Friday and into early Saturday morning.

"If Chantal survives until Saturday, then it will have a chance to re-strengthen," writes Dr. Jeff Masters at Weather Underground.

Then again, there's some chance the whole thing might fall apart this afternoon, with Hurricane Center forecasters writing that "advisories may be discontinued later today.''

Come on, Chantal! We've got an art walk to get drunk at this Saturday.

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Tim Elfrink is a former investigative reporter and managing editor for Miami New Times. He has won the George Polk Award and was a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.
Contact: Tim Elfrink