The National Hurricane Center has upgraded a storm brewing in the Atlantic Ocean to hurricane status, a rarity both given its timing and strength.
Hurricane Alex is located 490 miles (about 790 kilometers) south of Portugal’s Azores islands, parts of which are under a hurricane warning. It’s even less common when such a storm strengthens into a hurricane, which often thrive most over warm waters.
The Atlantic hurricane season officially runs from June 1 to November 30, though that doesn’t mean tropical systems cannot pop up at other times.
Alex is not just the first named storm for the 2016 calendar year. It’s also the first named storm to form in the Atlantic in January since 1978, the first January-born hurricane since 1938, and just the fourth known storm to arrive in the month since records began in 1851.
Sounds like an El Niño and climate change phenomena!