After keeping Florida on edge for the past four days, Tropical Storm Chantal on Wednesday degenerated into an open wave in the Caribbean, about 260 miles south of Cuba.
Yet its remnants are expected to produce a wet, stormy weekend here, with 2-4 inches of rain in South Florida and 1-3 inches in Central Florida. Some areas could see heavy rain and street flooding, but not "a widespread heavy rain event," said meteorologist Stephen Konarik of the National Weather Service.
The gray weather is forecast to move into South Florida on Friday morning and into Central Florida later in the day. Winds could get gusty at times, but "we're not looking at much of a wind threat from this," added meteorologist Tony Cristaldi.
There is a small chance Chantal will regenerate in the Florida Straits, but it won't change the forecast for South and Central Florida, the weather service said. (Story continues below.)
After emerging Sunday in the eastern Atlantic, Chantal initially had been projected to approach Florida as a tropical storm on Friday.
However, it was difficult to forecast its track and intensity largely because disorganized systems such as Chantal are hard to predict, said senior hurricane specialist Jack Beven, of the National Hurricane Center.
"It's been tricky because it's been a marginally organized storm in a marginally favorable environment," he said.
Chantal battled strong wind shear and dry air along its path. And its fast-forward progress, close to 30 mph at times, also inhibited its intensification, Beven said.
Though Chantal never posed much of a threat to Florida, it could be a harbinger of an active season ahead. That's because it developed in the tropical region near Africa, Beven said.
"It could be an indicator that the main development region will be active at the height of season," he said.
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