Tropical Storm Rafael tracks toward Bermuda

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Associated Press

Posted on October 14, 2012 at 9:32 PM

Updated Sunday, Oct 14 at 11:32 PM

CHARLOTTE AMALIE, U.S. Virgin Islands (AP) — The outer bands of Tropical Storm Rafael are drenching the Caribbean's Northern Leeward Islands as its center steadily moves over open ocean on a possible track toward Bermuda.

There are no immediate reports of any significant damage or injuries in the Caribbean islands as the center of the tropical storm churns toward the north-northwest at about 10 mph. By late Sunday night, it was about 235 miles north-northeast of San Juan, Puerto Rico, and was packing winds of roughly 70 mph.

Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center in Miami say Rafael has grown to near-hurricane strength and could become one on Monday as it spins over the open Atlantic.

Rafael could then approach Bermuda late Tuesday. A tropical storm watch has been issued there.

In the U.S. Virgin Islands, the territory's emergency management director says authorities "don't anticipate any significant impact" from the passing storm. There were off-and-on showers during much of the day on Sunday.

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