Chris Weakens to Tropical Depression from Tropical Storm

NEW YORK, Aug 04, 2006, Dow Jones Newswires

The National Hurricane Center early Friday downgraded tropical storm Chris to a tropical depression, its sustainable winds dropping to 35 miles per hour - below the 39 mile per hour threshold for tropical storm status.

Shortly before 8 a.m. EDT Chris was about 20 miles south of Grand Turk Island and traveling westward at nearly 13 miles per hour, the NHC said. The possibility remains that Chris may strengthen to tropical storm status, NHC said.

It said while a tropical storm warning remains in effect for the Turks and Caicos islands and the southeastern Bahamas, these warnings will likely be discontinued later Friday.

"It's going to be hard for it to strengthen to a hurricane within the next five days," meteorologist Robbie Berg said at the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

Forecasters expected Chris to head over Cuba and into the Gulf of Mexico, reaching Texas or Mexico by early Wednesday.

It was expected to pass over Haiti, the Dominican Republic and the southeastern Bahamas on Friday. Anywhere from 2 to 6 inches of rain were expected.

A tropical storm warning was in effect in the southeastern Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands. The warning included the Acklins, Crooked Island, The Inaguas, Mayaguana and the Ragged Islands.

Long Island and the Exumas in the central Bahamas were under tropical storm watches, while a watch was canceled for Samana, Dominican Republic, along the northern coast of Haiti to La Mole St. Nicolas.

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