Tropical Storm Chris weakens significantly

? Tropical Storm Chris lost steam Thursday as it pushed across the eastern Caribbean, scattering rain over Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands but no longer posing a hurricane threat to the region.

“It’s pretty much a skeleton at this point,” said hurricane specialist Jamie Rhome at the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

At 7 p.m. CDT, the storm had maximum sustained winds of nearly 40 mph, just above the threshold for a tropical storm. The center of the storm, which was expected to weaken to a tropical depression late Thursday or early today, was about 165 miles east-southeast of Grand Turk Island in the southwestern Bahamas. It was moving west-northwest at about 10 mph, the U.S. hurricane center said.

A tropical storm watch was in effect for the north coast of the Dominican Republic, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and the southeastern Bahamas.

Authorities said the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico could get up to 5 inches of rain from the system. Northern Haiti should also get some rain.