A rare winter hurricane, the first one to form in the Atlantic ocean in the month of January since 1938, has been named Hurricane Alex. According to CNN, this is the first time in four decades that a storm of considerable size formed in January was given a name. Hurricane Alex started off as a disturbance in the Atlantic Ocean, and on Thursday, the National Hurricane Center upgraded Alex to a full-fledged hurricane.
As of 4 p.m. ET, Hurricane Alex reportedly has sustained winds of up to 85 mph. The storm does not pose any threat to coastal United States and is currently located around 350 miles south of the Azores islands, a part of Portugal. Parts of the Azores are already under hurricane warning, reports say.
Weathermen have described Hurricane Alex as a rare and “weird” storm because it is very abnormal for a Hurricane to form in the North Atlantic ocean in the middle of winter. They are also puzzled as to how the storm managed to garner enough strength to metamorphize into Hurricane Alex. Under normal circumstances, formation of hurricanes need the presence of warm waters — which isn’t exactly the case in the North Atlantic in winter. The hurricane season in the Atlantic usually starts June 1 and lasts till November 30.
Before Hurricane Alex, there has been an instance of just one named storm that is known to have formed in the Atlantic since 1978. As mentioned earlier, this is also the first January-born hurricane in the North Atlantic since 1938. Another record that Hurricane Alex can boast of is the fact that it is only the fourth storm ever to arrive in the Atlantic in the month of January since 1851 — the year when weather records began.
Meanwhile, Hurricane Alex is now expected to continue moving north-east and reach the Azores coast by Friday evening. In the process, it is also expected to gather more strength. Residents of the islands can expect storm force winds and high rainfall starting late Thursday night, reported WHNT 19 News.
In fact, several areas of the islands have already been placed under tropical storm warning. The affected regions include the central Azores islands of Faial, Pico, Sao Jorge, Graciosa, and Terceira. The capital city of the Azores, Ponta Delgada, is also under threat with Hurricane Alex expected to dump between three to seven inches of rain across the region. Dangerous storm surges along with landslides are also expected. People staying near the coast have been advised to move inland. Azores is believed to be home to more than 250,000 people. A statement issued by the National Hurricane Center read,
“Alex is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 3 to 5 inches over the Azores through Friday, with possible isolated maximum amounts of 7 inches. These rains could produce life-threatening flash floods and mud slides. A dangerous storm surge is expected to produce significant coastal flooding near and to the east of the center of Alex. Near the coast, the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves.”
As already clarified earlier, Hurricane Alex is 2300 miles away from the United States coast and it would have little effect on the weather conditions in the country. In fact, even from mainland Europe, the hurricane is 900 miles away.
By early next week, Hurricane Alex would move further northwards towards Greenland and eventually lose its strength and dissipate.
Debate is already on whether the first January hurricane since 1938 is due to the effects of El Niño. Do you think El Niño has anything to do with Hurricane Alex?
(Photo by NOAA via Getty Images)