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Dublin: 8 °C Thursday 17 October, 2019
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The weather is getting weirder. There's a hurricane FIVE MONTHS before hurricane season

Hurricane Alex is the first Atlantic hurricane to form in January in 78 years.

A RARE HURRICANE formed far out in the Atlantic yesterday, and US officials said it was the first hurricane formed in the month of January since 1938.

Hurricane Alex’s maximum sustained winds were near 140 kmph. A hurricane warning was issued for Portugal’s mid-Atlantic Azores Islands, where the Civil Protection Service issued a weather red alert, the highest of four warnings that indicates extreme risk, for five of the archipelago’s nine islands.

It said residents should expect waves up to 18m high and wind gusts up to 160 kph.

The US National Hurricane Center in Miami said in a Facebook post that there hasn’t been a hurricane present during the month of January since 1955, when Alice formed in late December 1954 and carried over into the next month.

The hurricane was centered about 670km south of Faial Island in the central Azores and was moving north-northeast near 31kmph Alex was expected to move near or over parts of the Azores today.

PastedImage-85689 The hurricane forming in the mid-Atlantic. Source: National Hurricane Center

The Azores government advised kindergartens to stay closed and told residents to ensure drainage systems aren’t blocked.

The archipelago, which has a population of around 250,000, has been threatened by hurricanes before, but they usually lose their strength as they move into colder northern water.

Alex formed only days after a rare event in the Pacific. An El Nino-related tropical storm formed southwest of Hawaii last week.

Tropical Storm Pali, only the third such system to develop in January in over 40 years, had weakened to a depression by yesterday and was expected to dissipate in the next day or so. It never made landfall and was no threat to land.

PastedImage-13183 The cone contains the probable path of the storm centre but does not show the size of the storm. Source: National Hurricane Center

However, Alex’s formation has nothing to do with El Nino, according to NOAA Climate Prediction Center deputy director Mike Halpert. NOAA researcher Jim Kossin said the water Alex formed in was about 3 to 4 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than normal, still barely warm enough for a storm to form.

Read: The strongest hurricane ever has made landfall… but it wasn’t as bad as expected >
Read: Is Hurricane Joaquin heading to Ireland? >

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Associated Press

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