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Tropical storm soaks Virgin Islands

CHARLOTTE AMALIE, US Virgin Islands — The outer bands of Tropical Storm Rafael drenched the Caribbean’s Northern Leeward Islands on Sunday as its center steadily moved over open ocean on a possible track toward Bermuda.

There were no immediate reports of any significant damage or injuries in the Caribbean islands as the center of the tropical storm churned toward the north-northwest at about 10 miles per hour. Last night, it was about 185 miles north-northeast of San Juan and was packing winds of roughly 60 miles per hour.

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Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center in Miami said Rafael could strengthen into a hurricane by late Monday.

It could then approach Bermuda late Tuesday. The Bermuda Weather Service issued a tropical storm watch for the storm-hardened British territory of about 70,000 people.

In the US Virgin Islands, Elton Lewis, the territory’s emergency management director, said authorities ‘‘don’t anticipate any significant impact’’ from the passing storm. There were off-and-on showers during much of the day.

Tropical storm warnings have been discontinued for Caribbean islands.

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