Update 10:30am EDT:
The recon aircraft did find a wind shift in Chantal that indicates she has retained a very weak surface circulation. Pressures were high near 1013mb, indicating that she has weakened significantly. Thunderstorms are going back up over this center, so heavy rainfall will still impact Hispaniola today. As Chantal gets farther west and north her chances for restrengthening will increase in the NW Caribbean and perhaps the eastern Gulf of Mexico as she leaves the fast trade wind flow of the Caribbean which has nearly killed her, but a potential encounter with Cuba could also kill her forever. While Chantal has ceased to be an immediate significant threat, interests in the NW Caribbean from Jamaica to Cuba and Florida should monitor Chantal’s progress in case of restrengthening.
In a striking turn of events, Chantal lost all of her thunderstorms for a few hours overnight, and although some are redeveloping this morning, this episode was enough for Chantal to lose her surface circulation, and she is likely an open wave. A recon aircraft is currently investigating whether this is the case, though airspace restrictions may prevent them from confirming it. Regardless, the unfavorable trade wind flow that we have expected to cause Chantal to struggle has done much more to her than anticipated, and Chantal may never recover. As a result, her low-level center is tracking with the low-level wind flow on a trajectory much farther to the west and south, and most of Chantal will now avoid Hispaniola, though heavy rain will still impact the island with possible flooding. Chantal’s future suggests a track towards Cuba and perhaps the Florida Peninsula. She potentially may have to be watched for redevelopment in the eastern Gulf of Mexico in a few days, but for now has ceased to be an immediate threat except for heavy rainfall.
We are essentially no longer tracking a tropical cyclone, but instead tracking a tropical wave that may have a chance to develop in a few days. I will have a full update this evening after work.
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