Tropical Storm Chantal was the third named storm of the 2001 Atlantic hurricane season. Chantal formed on August 14 in the open Atlantic Ocean well east of the Windward Islands. It moved west, degenerated into a tropical wave, then re-generated, and ultimately made landfall near the Belize/Yucatan Peninsula border as a 70 mph tropical storm. Chantal's peak was 70 mph and a pressure of 997 mb.
Chantal caused $4,000,000 (2001 USD) in damage and caused two deaths.
|Formation||August 14, 2001|
|Dissipation||August 22, 2001|
|Highest winds||70 mph|
|Lowest pressure||997 mbar|
|Damages||$4,000,000 (2001 USD)|
|Areas affected||Windward Islands, Jamaica, Belize, Mexico|
A tropical wave moved off the coast of Africa on August 11. The wave moved steadily westard and developed an area of convection on August 13. On August 14, convection continued to increase, and it is estimated that the wave became Tropical Depression Four later on August 14 while located about 1,300 miles east of the Windward Islands. Located to the south of a subtropical ridge, the depression moved westward after forming at a rather fast foward speed. On August 16, despite looking quite impressive on satellite imagery, hurricane hunter aircraft was not able to find a closed surface circulation, and thus the depression had degenerated into a tropical wave at this point. QuikSCAT and Dvorak classifications indicated that the depression reached tropical storm strength however, but this was not confirmed by the National Hurricane Center. On August 17, the wave passed over the Windward Islands, and slowed its foward speed down to 23 mph. At this time, another hurricane hunter flight into the wave found a small area of a closed surface circulation and based on this, it is estimated the wave strengthened into Tropical Storm Chantal.
Chantal continued westward, and in 18 hours, its pressure dropped from 1018 mb to 1003 mb. In addition, Chantal's winds increased from 45 mph to 65 mph during this time. Chantal's foward speed increased again, which disrupted its organization again. Despite this, Chantal reached winds of 70 mph and a pressure of 997 mb. On August 19, Chantal passed south of Jamaica. That same day, Chantal became disorganized again, which made it difficult for hurricane hunters and forecasters alike to determine where Chantal's circulation center was. On August 20, Chantal entered an area of weak wind shear aloft, and on August 21, just before landfall in between Belize and the Yucatan Peninsula, Chantal regained winds of 70 mph. At this time, the central pressure was 999 mb. After landfall, Chantal weakened to a tropical depression over Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula and dissipated on August 22.
A Tropical Storm Watch was issued for the islands of Barbados, St. Vincent and St. Lucia on August 15. On August 16, the watches were changed to warnings as it was forecast that the depression (it was a depression at the time) would reach tropical storm status. Also, additional watches were issued for the rest of the Windward Islands in anticipation of the approaching storm.
Jamaica and the Cayman Islands
Jamaica and the Cayman Islands had a Tropical Storm Watch issued for them because of the threat of Chantal. When Chantal threatened to become a hurricane, those watches were quickly upgraded to Hurricane Watches and later on, Hurricane Warnings. The hurricane warning was in effect for Jamaica.
Belize and Mexico
Officials extended the Tropical Storm Watch for Belize and Mexico. A Hurricane Watch was eventually issued for Belize City northward, and the Tropical Storm Watch along the coast was upgraded to a Tropical Storm Warning. On August 18, it was predicted that Chantal would make landfall in the Yucatan Peninsula. As Chantal drew closer, nearly 2,500 people in Mexico were evacuated to shelters. In Belize, the national government opened up its emergency operations center and had evacuated hospitals. Also, numerous airline flights and cruise ships were either cancelled or rerouted to safer locations.
The island of Martinique experienced tropical storm-force winds from the depression that ultimately became Chantal. Elsewhere in the Windward Islands, there was little or no damage.
The precursor depression produced lightning in Trinidad, killing two people indirectly.
In Puerto Rico, Chantal's outer rainbands produced over an inch of rain in some locations on the island. The highest rainfall total reported in Puerto Rico from Chantal was 2.4 inches in Rio Piedras.
As Chantal made landfall in Belize at just under hurricane-strength, it produced a wind gust to 70 mph as well as 8-10 inches of rain. Also, Chantal caused extensive damage to seawalls and piers from high waves, causing $4,000,000 (2001 USD) in damage.
Chantal downed some trees and power lines in Mexico. Otherwise, there was nothing really noteworthy in the country. The highest rainfall total from Chantal was reported in a location near Chetumal, where 20.03 inches of rain occured.