Atlantic System Might Become First January Storm Since 1978

  • National Hurricane Center tracking low-pressure system
  • System currently southwest of Bermuda and moving out to sea

A low-pressure system north of Bermuda stands a chance of becoming the first subtropical storm born in January in almost 38 years.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center is tracking the system, which was about 75 miles (120 kilometers) north of Bermuda on Friday, and gives it a 30 percent chance of becoming at least a subtropical storm by early next week.

“Sure, it’s a possibility,” said Phil Klotzbach, lead author of the Colorado State University seasonal Atlantic hurricane forecast. The last time a subtropical cyclone developed in January was an unnamed storm in 1978, he said.

The Atlantic hurricane season officially starts on June 1 and runs through Nov. 30. It’s most active in late August through September, when the ocean’s surface is warm and conditions in the atmosphere are conducive to storm development.

Storms have formed in every month, however. In 2005, the Atlantic’s most active year on record, Tropical Storm Zeta formed at the end of December and lingered into early January, Klotzbach said.

If the current system develops, it would be named Alex, and the Miami-based hurricane center’s forecast calls for it to move deep into the mid-Atlantic, away from land. Even if it fails to become a named storm, it will pose a threat to ships at sea.

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