Tropical Storm Rafael is currently moving away from the Lesser Antilles, Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico this morning.
Rafael will continue to maintain tropical storm strength as it tracks towards the north-northwest. Although the storm is moving away from the islands, heavy rains and gusty winds will continue.
Sheets of rain and wind is expected to drench many of the region's islands, some to the point of flooding. Low lying areas, and those with poor drainage, such as urban areas, will be most at risk for flooding.
Inches of rainfall are likely due to the slow-moving nature of the storm. Continuous rainfall in the mountainous islands could create a problem with mudslides. As the rains soak the soils, whole hillsides can turn into a fast-moving sheet of mud.
The strongest winds of Rafael will likely occur in the US Virgin Islands, just to the right of the storm's center. Damaging gusts past 60 miles per hour are expected, certainly fast enough to cause damage.
On top of rain and wind concerns, rough surf will pound the southern shores of the region, with waves reaching as high a 8 feet over the open water. Such surf usually brings rip currents, which can easily pull unsuspecting swimmers out to sea.
Lastly, the continuous rainfall in the mountainous region could create a problem with mudslides. As the rains soak the soils, whole hillsides can turn into a fast-moving sheet of mud.
Rafael won't be finished after impacting the Antilles. The storm is currently set to impact Bermuda as early as Tuesday morning. How strong the system will be when it passes Bermuda is unclear. There may be an opening for Rafael to strengthen, becoming a hurricane late Monday or early Tuesday.
Even if Rafael is stronger when it passes Bermuda, it will be moving much quicker by that point, so the window for impacts will be generally smaller.
Rafael may then take aim at Newfoundland around Wednesday night.
Home page caption image provided by Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies
NOAA released its 2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season Forecast Thursday, predicting another active season.
This holiday weekend, a rare astronomical phenomenon will occur that will not be seen again until October 2015.
San Antonio is getting hit by heavy thunderstorms on Friday afternoon and evening.
A few days after a chilly storm departs the Northeast, warm weather will make a strong comeback in parts of the Midwest and the East later next week.
Severe weather and drenching downpours will affect parts of the Plains and Midwest over the Memorial Day Weekend.
"This pup was literally singing when he saw his family," Michelle Karolicki, relocation program manager of the Central Oklahoma Humane Society, said about a reunion that took place on Thursday.
North Texas (1986)
Severe thunderstorms produced 95 mph wind gusts and widespread damage. More than 3" of rain fell in less than an hour. A 29 year old women and 6 year old daughter drowned when the underpass they were driving into was flooded out.
Abilene, TX (2000)
109 degrees, hottest ever in May.
Knoxville, TN (1807)
Hail 10" in circumference hail; a tornado went over the river, sucking fish out of the water.