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TS Rafael forms in Caribbean

Oct. 12, 2012 at 10:10 PM

MIAMI, Oct. 12 (UPI) -- Tropical Storm Rafael formed over the eastern Caribbean Sea Friday, and forecasters issued a tropical storm warning for the U.S. and British Virgin Islands.

Rafael was about 125 miles west-southwest of Dominica and 220 miles south-southeast of St. Croix with maximum sustained winds of 40 miles per hour, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said in its 7:30 p.m. advisory. The storm was moving north-northwest at 12 miles per hour and was expected to maintain that general motion Friday night, then turn north Saturday.

Tropical storm-force winds extend outward up to 150 miles from the center of the storm.

Rafael could produce 3 to 5 inches of rain with isolated amounts of 10 inches of the Lesser Antilles and the Virgin Islands, bringing a potential for life-threatening flash-floods and mudslides. Dangerous surf conditions could persist through Sunday, forecasters said.

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