CHANTAL downgraded to tropical wave

Disturbance fourteen is crossing ahead of CHANTAL from east to west as upper-level low with little in the way of surface shape. The approximate centre has just transitted the Florida Straits at around 3 knots and starting to curve to the north-west into the into the Gulf of Mexico. There are no signs of organisation and it is uncertain how much impact the windfield from CHANTAL will have. There is just a remote chance that the system could develop into a tropical depression.

The dish of the day of course is CHANTAL. Reports throughout the past 24 hours have ranged wildly from a powerful pre-emptive strike on the oilfields of the north-west Gulf (we know who that was), to an early demise over the Bahamas and eastern Florida. The latter seems most likely as things stand. The centre of CHANTAL is now 200 miles west sou-west of Haiti and moving west at 20 knots. Still a tad fast. Current measured wind speeds are 40 gusting 55 knots. Current hurricane severity index just 3 (1 for size and 2 for intensity - almost irrelevant at this level) and probably at peak. Reconnaisance aircraft fly-bys have drawn a blank and it seems that surface organisation has collapsed. No circulation, no convection, no storm. The National Hurricane Centre has downgraded this to a tropical wave in the past hour. Despite the gloomy news, there is still thunderstorm activity and squally gusts up to 40 knots. Since CHANTAL is very weak, it is likely to be steered more by low level wind flow. This means that the sytem will track a little further to the west then north along the west coast of Florida. At this time, CHANTAL will be a remnant low with only a very slender chance of becoming a tropical depression again before it makes its final landfall in Florida.

Disturbance sixteen drifted out of the convergence zone, losing all organisation and is no longer visible on satellite imagery.

Disturbance seventeen is a day west of the Cape Verde Islands and moving west at a more sensible 12 knots. At present, this is not showing much of its earlier energy and is quite disorganised and most modellers are writing down the chances of this developing into a decent cyclone, at least for the next few days.

Stand easy