Tropical Storm Chantal Forms Southeast of Nova Scotia

Tropical Storm Chantal formed southeast of Nova Scotia on Tuesday night.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday the center of Tropical Storm Chantal was located at latitude 40.2°N and longitude 56.2°W which put it about 485 miles (780 km) southeast of Halifax, Nova Scotia.  Chantal was moving toward the east at 22 m.p.h. (35 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 40 m.p.h. (65 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 50 m.p.h. (80 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 1010 mb.

A small low pressure system that was near the coast of the Carolinas during the weekend began to exhibit tropical characteristics on Tuesday night and the National Hurricane Center designated the system as Tropical Storm Chantal.  Thunderstorms developed closer to the center of circulation when the low moved near the Gulf Stream and the strongest winds were occurring closer to the center.  Although the circulation around Chantal looked more tropical, the distribution of thunderstorms was still asymmetrical.  Many of the stronger storms were occurring in the eastern half of the circulation.  Bands in the western half of the circulation consisted primarily of showers and lower clouds.  Tropical Storm Chantal was far enough north that it was in the region of westerly winds in the upper levels.  Those winds were causing moderate vertical wind shear and they were the primary reason for the asymmetrical distribution of thunderstorms.

Tropical Storm Chantal will move through an environment only marginally favorable for intensification during the next several days.  Chantal will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 25°C.  It will continue to be in a region of moderate westerly winds in the upper levels, which will cause vertical wind shear.  Tropical Storm Chantal could intensify slowly if the upper level winds do not get any stronger.  However, Chantal could weaken if the upper level winds do get stronger.

Tropical Storm Chantal will move around the northern end of a ridge in the middle troposphere over the Atlantic Ocean.  The ridge will steer Chantal toward the east during the next 24 hours.  Chantal could move more toward the southeast on Thursday when it nears the western end of the ridge.  On its anticipated track Tropical Storm Chantal is forecast to make a slow loop in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.