October 12, 2012; 8:55 PM
Tropical Storm Rafael became the seventeenth named storm in the Atlantic Ocean in 2012, Friday evening.
Strong winds and tropical storm conditions are expected across the lesser Antilles and the Virgin Islands across the tropical storm warning areas tonight and Saturday.
Tropical storm conditions are possible over Puerto Rico, Culebra and Vieques Saturday night into Sunday.
Rafael is expected to produce rainfall amounts of 3 to 5 inches with isolated areas of the Lesser Antilles and the Virgin Island receiving as much as 10 inches of rain.
The rain could trigger life-threatening flash-floods and mudslides, especially in areas of mountainous terrain.
Dangerous surf conditions are possible in the Lesser Antilles and the Virgin Islands tonight through Sunday.
Rafael is located in the Eastern Caribbean tonight and will track northward overnight into Saturday. The center will pass near or over the Virgin Islands Saturday or Sunday night.
For all the latest statistics on Rafael, visit the AccuWeather.com hurricane center.
Satellite image of the disturbed area in the central Atlantic from NOAA
Steering winds next week could guide the system close to Bermuda during the middle of next week.