CHARLOTTE AMALIE, U.S. Virgin Islands — Tropical Storm Rafael is lashing the eastern Caribbean with heavy rains that are expected to unleash floods in the region.
The storm is about 165 miles south-southeast of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands. It has top sustained winds of 40 mph and is moving northwest at 9 mph.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center says the storm will gain some strength and will pass near or over the Virgin Islands late Saturday.
A tropical storm warning is in effect for the U.S. Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, Barbuda, St. Kitts, Nevis, Antigua, Montserrat, St. Maartin, Guadeloupe and Martinique.
Puerto Rico is under a tropical storm watch.
Meanwhile, tropical depression Patty is about 280 miles east-northeast of the central Bahamas.