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
As a large storm rolls out of the Plains and Midwest, a swath of snow, ice and travel disruptions will extend into the Northeast beginning during the latter part of the weekend.
February's record cold is expected to weaken across the East and Midwest heading into the month of March.
The weekend is setting up to be a slippery and messy one across a large part of the Plains and Midwest as a new winter storm rolls northeastward.
Residents in Spokane, Washington, recently caught sight of the unique phenomenon known as "hole punch" clouds that cause a gaping hole in the otherwise cloudy sky.
The week kicked off with a heavy snow expanding across areas of the Four Corners states before striking the South with snow and ice, causing treacherous travel from Shreveport, Louisiana, to Memphis, Tennessee.
Snowshoers across the country will descend upon Eau Claire, Wisconsin, from Feb. 27 to March 1 to compete in the 2015 U.S. National Snowshoe Championships.
Three tornadoes combined into one south of Colony, KS. Other tornadoes caused damage near Blue Mound, KS and Kingsville, MO and Blairstown, MO. Yates Center, KS had a thunderstorm wind gust of 70 mph, and baseball-sized hail pounded an area north of Amsterdam, MO.
Charleston, SC (1792)
Heavy snow caused Ashley River Bridge to collapse.
Astoria, IL (1900)
36" of snow - state record (24 hours).