Rafael started out as a tropical wave coming off of Africa back on October 8th, and became more organized as it moved across the Atlantic Ocean. On Friday night, when it was just west of the islands of Martinique and St. Lucia, the U.S. National Hurricane Center upgraded it to Tropical Storm status, as its maximum sustained winds reached 65 km/h. It is currently a Category 1 hurricane, with 140 km/h winds, and is located at around 550 kilometres south of Bermuda, headed in a north-northeast direction at 26 km/h.
The projected track of Hurricane Rafael will take it to the east of Bermuda and it looks as though the closest it will come to Canada is within about 700 kilometres of Nova Scotia on Wednesday night, and within about 500 kilometres of Newfoundland on Thursday. The forecast has it maintaining 120 km/h winds, with gusts up to 150 km/h, for tomorrow and overnight into Thursday, but it should gradually weaken after Thursday morning.
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When naming storms, the National Hurricane Center skips the letter Q (since there aren't very many western names that start with Q, and we can't keep rotating through Quentin, Quintin, Quinn and Quincy every 4 years), thus Rafael is the 17th named storm of the season.
(Photo courtesy NASA)