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TROPICAL STORM CHANTAL BUILDING STRENGTH

Aug. 16, 2001 – The third tropical storm of the Atlantic hurricane season could bring showers and gusty winds to the local region on Friday afternoon. Tropical Depression 4 was upgraded to Tropical Storm Chantal on Thursday morning.
"Early visible satellite photos indicate that the depression has strengthened and has become Tropical Storm Chantal," hurricane forecaster Lixion Avila said.
The center of the storm was located near 12.9 degrees north latitude and 54 degrees west longitude. Avila said the storm's movement is to the west at 28 miles per hour and that it is packing top sustained winds of 40 mph. "Conditions are favorable for additional strengthening and Chantal could be upgraded to a hurricane in the next day or two," he said.
Chantal is a relatively fast-moving storm and it is unusual for such a system to build rapidly in strength, but warm sea temperatures are having that impact, weather analysts said.
An air force reconnaissance aircraft is scheduled to investigate the storm later in the day, Avila said.
Knight Quality Stations chief meteorologist Alan Archer projected gusty winds on the order of 50 to 70 miles per hour being felt across the Virgin Islands Friday afternoon. "These winds will be in gusts associated with Chantal," he said. "Small-craft advisories are already in effect well in advance of the arrival of any inclement weather." On its current movement and projected track, Archer said, the storm would pass about 150 miles south of St. Croix.
Tropical storm warnings were posted for Barbados, St. Vincent and St. Lucia. Tropical storm watches were up in the Grenadines and Dominica.

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