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Alex becomes first hurricane to form in January since 1938

Hurricane Alex formed in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean on Thursday, the first hurricane to form in January since 1938.
Hurricane Alex formed in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean on Thursday, the first hurricane to form in January since 1938. (NOAA Satellite and Information Service)

A quickly developing tropical cyclone in the middle of the Atlantic has become Hurricane Alex, the first hurricane to form in January since 1938.

"Remarkably, Alex has undergone the transformation into a hurricane," National Hurricane Center forecasters wrote in a 10 a.m. update. The storm has a distinct eye and tropical characteristics, they said.

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The storm has maximum sustained winds of 85 mph and is about 500 miles south of the Azores, a group of islands that is itself about 850 miles west of Portugal and 1,200 miles southeast of Newfoundland. Hurricane warnings have been issued across the island.

The storm is forecast to pass over the Azores as a hurricane Friday before weakening into a tropical storm as it moves into the North Atlantic.

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Alex is the first storm of the 2016 hurricane season, which doesn't officially start until June 1. The 2015 hurricane season ended Nov. 30, and it was slightly quieter than normal.

No hurricane has formed in January since an unnamed storm in 1938. Hurricane Alice formed in late December of 1954 and continued to cross the Caribbean Sea into January 1955.

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