July 8 Tropical Storm Chantal churned across the Atlantic Ocean toward the eastern Caribbean on Monday on a track that would put it over flood-prone Haiti and the Dominican Republic later this week, U.S. forecasters said.
The third named storm of the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season posed no immediate threat to U.S. oil and gas operations in the Gulf of Mexico.
But while a track forecast from the Miami-based National Hurricane Center showed it turning away from the Gulf after cutting across eastern Cuba early Friday, meteorologists said that forecast was still subject to possible change.
On the current track forecast, the storm would likely head back out to sea after skirting across the eastern coast of Florida and crossing over the Bahamas on Saturday.
Chantal, which was packing winds of about 40 miles per hour (65 kph) on Monday morning as it swirled 630 miles (1010 km) east-southeast of Barbados, was not forecast to strengthen into a hurricane.
(Reporting by Tom Brown; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick)