Hurricane 01L (Alex) is active in the Atlantic Ocean…located approximately 490 miles south of Faial Island in the central Azores
Hurricane Alex is active in the eastern Atlantic Ocean, coming in at a category 1 storm with 85 mph winds…making it the strongest January hurricane on record
Alex is not just the first named storm for the 2016 calendar year. It’s also the first named storm to form in the Atlantic in January since 1978, the first January hurricane since 1938…and just the fourth known storm to arrive in the month since records began in 1851.
Here’s the satellite looped history of this very unusual tropical cyclone…beginning back on January 7th offshore from the southeast coast of the United States
This tropical system is located about 490 miles south of Faial Island in the central Azores…moving north-northeast at a fast paced 20 mph.
According to the NHC, remarkably, Alex has undergone the transformation into a hurricane. A distinct eye is present, embedded within a fairly symmetric mass of deep convection.
Water vapor imagery shows that the upper level trough is now west of the cyclone, with divergent flow over the center – indicative of a tropical transition.
It is very unusual to have a hurricane over waters that are near 20 deg C, but the upper tropospheric temperatures are estimated to be around -60 deg C, which is significantly colder than the tropical mean.
The resulting instability is likely the main factor contributing to the tropical transition and intensification of Alex. With these changes, the government of the Azores has issued warnings for most of the Azores islands.
The initial intensity is set to 75 knots, although only slight additional intensification seems possible, since the system will be passing over even colder waters during the next day or two.
In 36 hours, the global models suggest that the cyclone will become extra-tropical as it begins to merge with a large low pressure area at higher latitudes. The post-tropical cyclone is then likely to lose its identity after 48 hours.
The initial motion is north-northeastward or 020/17 knots. Alex is being steered by a shortwave mid-level trough that is rotating around a larger trough to the northwest. This should cause the cyclone to turn northward and north-northwestward and accelerate over the next couple of days.
The official track forecast is very similar to the previous one and also quite close to the consensus of the tightly-packed dynamical model forecast tracks.
The storm should dump between 3 and 5 inches of rain on the islands, with 7 inches possible in isolated locales. That precipitation could cause mudslides and flash floods…while dangerous storm surges could produce serious flooding along the coasts.
The Azores are a chain of islands about 850+ miles west of Portugal.
WATCHES AND WARNINGS The Azores Meteorological Service has issued a Hurricane Warning for the islands of Faial, Pico, Sao Jorge, Graciosa, and Terceira in the central Azores, and a Tropical Storm Warning for the islands of Sao Miguel and Santa Maria in the eastern Azores. SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT: A Hurricane Warning is in effect for... * Faial, Pico, Sao Jorge, Graciosa, and Terceira in the central Azores A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for... * Sao Miguel and Santa Maria in the eastern Azores
Tropical Cyclone Alex
Here’s a satellite image of the Atlantic Ocean
WSI satellite image of the Caribbean Sea
Gulf of Mexico
Latest satellite image of the Gulf of Mexico