Today the National Hurricane Center noted the development of the first named storm of the year, Subtropical Storm Alex, in the eastern Atlantic Ocean. This is the first time since 1978 that a named storm has formed in January, according to the Capital Weather Gang in a story here. A subtropical storm has some characteristics of a tropical storm but some other elements more like a regular mid-latitude storm.
On average, the first named storm of the year does not occur until July 9. More information on the climatology of January storms can be found in yesterday’s blog post from Chris Robbins at iWeatherNet.com. What is even more amazing is that there is also a hurricane, Pali, in the central Pacific Ocean, the earliest one has ever formed there. The formation of both of these storms can be linked in part to unusually warm ocean waters in the two ocean basins.
Alex is expected to move north and may bring some rain to the Azores but should be no threat to the US.