MIAMI - Tropical Storm Rafael strengthened into a hurricane over the Atlantic on Monday on a track that may take it near Bermuda, the US National Hurricane Center said on Monday.

Rafael, the ninth hurricane of the Atlantic season, was centered about 560 miles (905 km) south of Bermuda and packing top sustained winds of 75 mph (120 kph).

It was moving north at 10 mph (17 kph) and expected to pass east of Bermuda on Tuesday, the Miami-based hurricane center said.

The storm posed no threat to US oil and gas production in the Gulf of Mexico.

Bermuda, a wealthy British overseas territory and a global reinsurance hub, is frequently buffeted by storms and hurricanes sweeping across the Atlantic from June to November, but is well prepared for them and major damage or fatalities on the island from storms are rare.

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