KINGSTON, Jamaica — Tropical Storm Chantal was downgraded Wednesday to a tropical wave as its scattered clouds drifted quickly westward toward Jamaica. But heavy rains from the weakened system continued to drench parts of Haiti and the Dominican Republic and force the evacuation of flood-prone areas.
One storm-related death was reported in the Dominican Republic: a firefighter swept away by floodwaters.
What was once a fast-moving storm began degenerating late Wednesday afternoon about 230 miles east-southeast of the Jamaican capital of Kingston. Its remnants still packed maximum sustained winds of 45 mph, but a reconnaissance plane found that Chantal lacked the closed circulation necessary to be classified as a storm.
The National Hurricane Center in Miami said the wave was expected to spread over Jamaica and eastern Cuba into today. It was projected to move over or near the Florida peninsula by Friday, where heavy wind shear is expected to keep it from reforming as a storm.
Jamaica's Meteorological Service said "the main threat at this time is for outbreaks of heavy showers and thunderstorms," starting over eastern parishes. It warned that flash flooding was possible and called for mariners to stay alert.