Hurricane Rafael forecast

Hurricane Rafael, the ninth hurricane of the year, is expected to brush past Bermuda. (National Hurricane Center / October 16, 2012)

Just as the early parts of the Atlantic hurricane season saw some action, the tropics are still stirring in the last six weeks or so of the season, with Hurricane Rafael showing there is still some fight out there.

The storm is about 345 miles south of Bermuda and should brush past the island nation, avoiding a direct hit, sometime today or tonight. It has maximum sustained winds of 85 mph, making it a Category 1 storm.

Bermuda is under a tropical storm warning, but otherwise, Rafael is not expected to impact any land.

Rafael is the season's ninth Atlantic hurricane, bringing the total above the five to eight hurricanes NOAA forecasters had predicted. 

Despite that busier-than-expected activity, it hasn't been a particularly damaging hurricane season for the U.S., with few storms making landfall. Rafael is only the third hurricane of the season to threaten land in North America, after Ernesto struck the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico and Isaac hit the Mississippi River delta.

Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center expect Rafael to hold its strength today before weakening sometime Wednesday as it moves into the north Atlantic.

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