A rare January subtropical storm exploded into a hurricane south of the Azores, the first of its kind in almost 80 years.
Alex, which developed into a named system Wednesday, was about 490 miles (790 kilometers) south of Faial Island in the central Azores with top sustained winds of 85 miles (137 kilometers) per hour, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said in an advisory at 10 a.m. East Coast time. The system was moving north-northeast at 20 mph.
The storm’s eye is expected to move near or over portions of the Azores on Friday, dropping as much as 7 inches (19 centimeters) of rain. The hurricane center’s tracking map shows the system on a path toward Greenland by Saturday.
Alex is the first hurricane to form in the Atlantic in January since 1938, the center said. The ocean’s storm season officially runs from June 1 through Nov. 30, although systems can form at any time.