It looks like the Caribbean and Florida dodged another bullet now that Tropical Storm Chris weakened and lost steam and skirted several islands in the eastern Caribbean with winds of barely 40 mph, just above the minimum to be a named storm. Forecasters said the storm was unlikely to become a hurricane.

The Bahamian government discontinued its hurricane watch in the southeastern Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos islands and posted a tropical storm watch instead.

Chris was expected to dump heavy rains over the U.S. and British Virgin Islands as well as Puerto Rico.

Earlier in the week, when the storm did pose a hurricane threat, officials evacuated 600 tourists as a precaution from Culebra and Vieques off Puerto Ricos eastern coast. A vendor in Old San Juan posted his Storm Special half-price ice cream when the storm appeared to be a real threat to Puerto Rico.

Precautions on sea, in the air

Royal Caribbean altered the itineraries of three of its ships as it continued to monitor the path of Tropical Storm Chris.

The Navigator of the Seas skipped a call in St. Maarten and stopped in Nassau a day ahead of schedule; the Explorer of the Seas eliminated calls in San Juan and Labadee, Haiti, opting for a day at sea before calling in Nassau Aug. 3; and the Freedom of the Seas also will skip Haiti on Aug. 4, opting for a day at sea instead.

Spirit Airlines, meanwhile, enacted its Hurricane Buster policy, waiving its $50 change-fee for customers traveling to or from San Juan Aug. 2 and 3, providing they rebook by Aug. 29.

To contact reporter Gay Nagle Myers, send e-mail to [email protected].

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