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Tropical Storm Chantal threatens Dominican Republic, Haiti

Tropical Storm Chantal barreled towards the Dominican Republic and Haiti Wednesday. Officials warned of possible landslides and heavy flooding from Tropical Storm Chantal.

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Rudy Mendez secures the roof of his shack made of metal and carton as he prepares for the arrival of Tropical Storm Chantal in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Tuesday. Tropical Storm Chantal threatened to turn into a hurricane while it churned toward the Dominican Republic and Haiti as authorities there and in Puerto Rico warned of possible landslides and heavy flooding.

Ezequiel Abiu Lopez/AP

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Tropical Storm Chantal roared south of Puerto Rico early Wednesday on a path that will see it pass over the Dominican Republic and Haiti, where authorities warned of possible landslides and heavy flooding.

Chantal was becoming disorganized and a hurricane watch was discontinued for the Dominican Republic's southern coast, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida. However, atropical storm warning was in effect for the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Puerto Rico, Turks and Caicos, and the southeastern Bahamas.

Officials in the Dominican Republic, where Chantal was expected to make landfall Wednesday afternoon, urged those living in low-lying areas to evacuate, but few paid heed.

"We're sure nothing is going to happen," said Geovanny Batista, leader of an impoverished community in the capital of Santo Domingo built largely of wood, cardboard and zinc. 

"We can't just go and leave behind our belongings," he said. "Thieves will come and take them."

Officials in Haiti, which is forecast to feel the brunt of ChantalWednesday evening, encountered similar resistance despite repeated radio warnings.

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