Chantal Barrels Toward Eastern Caribbean

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(CNN) — Tropical Storm Chantal barreled toward the eastern Caribbean early Tuesday, threatening to bring torrential rain and an intense storm surge.

As of 5 a.m. Tuesday, Chantal was about 75 miles (120 kilometers) east of Barbados, the National Hurricane Center said. The storm was headed west-northwest at 26 mph, with the Windward and Leeward Islands along its path.

A projection map shows Chantal brushing Puerto Rico and slamming into the Dominican Republic and Haiti on Wednesday.

Chantal carried maximum sustained winds of 50 mph (85 kilometers) on Tuesday morning but is expected to intensify over the next two days, the hurricane center said.

A tropical storm warning is in effect for Barbados, Dominica, St. Lucia, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Puerto Rico and parts of southern Dominican Republic.

Chantal is expected to dump 2 to 4 inches of rain over the Leeward and Windward Islands, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Some parts could see as much as 6 inches.

In addition, a storm surge could raise water levels as much as 2 to 4 feet above normal tide in the southern Dominican Republic. Dangerous waves will accompany the surge, forecasters said.

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