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Rafael Spins in Atlantic; Paul Over Baja

UPDATED 11:15 AM EDT, October 17, 2012

UPDATED By WeatherBug Meteorologist, John Bateman

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What was Hurricane Rafael is rapidly moving away from Bermuda, and has now become an extratropical cyclone. Meanwhile, Paul has weakened to a tropical depression along the coast of Mexico`s Baja California coast.

As of 5 p.m. AST (EDT), Rafael was located near 40.2 N and 56.5 W, or 475 miles southeast of Halifax, Nova Scotia. Rafael is still packing top sustained winds of 75 mph, making it a Category One Hurricane-strength storm on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. It is moving rapidly northeastward at 35 mph. Its minimum central pressure is 972 mb, or 28.70 inches of mercury.

The storm is expected to weaken as it moves into the cool North Atlantic. It will then spin across the ocean as a strong post-tropical cyclone through the weekend.

The hurricane season is now past its peak, with October tropical systems like Rafael historically forming in the Caribbean Sea and western Atlantic near the Bahamas.

Meanwhile, in the eastern Pacific, Paul is a renmant low pressure center skimming along the Baja California coastline.

At 2 p.m. PDT, Paul was located near 27.7 N and 115.3 W, or 15 miles west-southwest of Punta Eugenia, Mexico. Maximum sustained winds are 35 mph. Its minimum central pressure is 1004 mb or 29.65 inches of mercury. Paul`s remnants are expected to push off the coast of Mexico and into the Pacific during its journey.

Before doing so, it could produce 1 to 2 inches of rain, with isolated 10 inch amounts that could cause flash floods and mudslides in mountainous terrain. Paul will also generate large swells and life-threatening surf.

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