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Hurricane Rafael leaves Bermuda behind

By the CNN Wire Staff
October 17, 2012 -- Updated 0350 GMT (1150 HKT)
Forecasters say Rafael will break up late Wednesday or early Thursday after a turn to the northeast.
Forecasters say Rafael will break up late Wednesday or early Thursday after a turn to the northeast.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: About 600 homes lose power in Bermuda
  • NEW: Winds reached 51 mph at the airport, weather service says
  • In the Pacific, Paul loses strength, turns without making landfall

(CNN) -- As Hurricane Rafael sped away from Bermuda, taking with it heavy rain and wind, the government discontinued storm watches for the island.

There appeared to be minimal disruption to life on Bermuda as the fast-moving storm roared by to the east, keeping the strongest winds well away from land.

About 600 homes lost power, the Bermuda Electric Light Company said on its Facebook page.

Glenn Jones, a business development and marketing manager for a Bermudian media company, said earlier that the wind was stronger than some locals expected. According to the Bermuda Weather Service, wind speeds reached 51 mph at the airport Tuesday night.

The outer bands of the Category 1 hurricane had swirled over the 21-square-mile island as the storm raced north-northeast during the afternoon, bringing tropical storm-force winds and downpours.

Late Tuesday, Rafael was about 135 miles (215 kilometers) east of the island, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said. Meteorologists said the storm, with 85 mph sustained wind, was moving at 29 mph.

Rafael becomes hurricane as it churns towards Bermuda

Forecasters said Rafael will break up late Wednesday or early Thursday after a turn to the northeast.

Bermuda might see 2 to 4 inches of rain from the storm, and some beaches in the Bahamas and the eastern United States will see swells caused by Rafael.

Meanwhile, along the Pacific coast of Mexico, Paul turned into a tropical storm and turned away from the Mexican coast without the center of the storm ever making landfall.

CNN's Catherine E. Shoichet, Nigel Walwyn and Greg Seaby contributed to this report.

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