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Tropical Storm Paul Expected to Begin Breaking Up Today

Tropical Storm Paul continued to weaken as at it moved northward along the west coast of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula and may begin to break up later today.

Paul’s top winds dropped to 40 miles (64 kilometers) per hour as it churned about 105 miles southeast of Punta Eugenia, Mexico, according to a U.S. National Hurricane Center advisory issued at 5 a.m. Pacific time. A system ceases to be a tropical storm when its winds fall below 39 mph.

“Weakening is forecast during the next 48 hours,” the Miami-based center said in the advisory. “Paul is expected to become a remnant low-pressure system by tonight and dissipate on Thursday.”

Paul may bring 10 inches (25 centimeters) of rain as it tracks northward up the peninsula. The rains may cause flash floods and life-threatening mudslides, and the storm surge may inundate the coastline near Sinaloa for the next two days.

Tropical-storm warnings are in place from Santa Fe to El Pocito and San Evaristo to Bahia San Juan Bautista, all in Mexico. A storm watch is in effect from north of El Pocito to Punta Eugenia. Tropical-storm force winds extend 140 miles from Paul’s center.

In the Atlantic, Hurricane Rafael swept past Bermuda yesterday and is now moving into the open ocean. It is about 310 miles northeast of Bermuda, moving north-northeast at 33 mph, the hurricane center said in an advisory at 5 a.m. New York time.

Rafael was at Category 1 strength, the lowest level on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale and is forecast to weaken as it turns northeast into the Atlantic.

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