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      Rafael becomes a hurricane

      Hurricane Rafael northeast of the Bahamas.

      COLUMBIA (WACH) -- Rafael becomes the ninth hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season.

      Air Force and NOAA Hurricane Hunter Aircraft confirmed Monday evening that Rafael had maximum sustained winds sufficient to become a category one hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale.

      The 11 pm eastern update on Monday from the National Hurricane Center has Hurricane Rafael's maximum sustained winds at 85 mph with higher gusts.

      The center of the storm is approximately 500 miles south of Bermuda.

      The minimum central pressure is 974 mb. The lower air pressure correlates with the increase in wind speed.

      Hurricane Rafael is expected to stay east of Bermuda at this time as well as weaken over cooler sea surface temperatures.

      Another factor in Rafael's demise will be the interaction with a frontal boundary that is now exiting the east coast of the United States.

      All of this will contribute to the storm becoming an extratropical low pressure system within the next 72-hours.

      Hurricane Rafael is currently moving to the north at 12 mph.

      The only U.S. impacts will be increased waves and rip currents along the east coast.

      Stay with the SkyWACH Weather Team for the latest on the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season.