MIAMI, July 10 Tropical Storm Chantal weakened
considerably as it took aim at the Dominican Republic on
Wednesday and the cyclone appeared to be falling apart, U.S.
The Miami-based National Hurricane Center said Chantal was
packing winds of about 45 miles per hour (75 km per hour) early
on Wednesday and still threatened to hit the Dominican Republic
and neighboring Haiti with heavy rain and stiff winds.
But wind shear was causing it to degenerate and the center
of the storm was difficult to track, the Hurricane Center said.
At 8 a.m. EDT (1200 GMT), Chantal was located about 155
miles (245 km) south-southwest of the Dominican capital Santo
Domingo and moving west at 29 mph (46 kph).
Chantal, the third named storm of the 2013 Atlantic
hurricane season, never posed an immediate threat to U.S. oil
and gas operations in the Gulf of Mexico.
Forecasters said it still had the potential to do some
damage in Haiti, the poorest country in the Americas and one
that is highly vulnerable to flash floods and mudslides because
of its near-total deforestation.
In the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince, thousands of
people live in fragile tents and tarpaulin camps more than three
years after the country's devastating earthquake.
Tropical storm warnings were still in effect early on
Wednesday for the Dominican Republic and Haiti and also for
Turks and Caicos and the southeastern Bahamas.
(Reporting by Tom Brown; Editing by Vicki Allen)