The strange system out in the Atlantic now has a 70 percent chance of development as thunderstorms organized overnight.
National Hurricane Center forecasters said the system is about 850 miles south-southwest of the Azores.
“If this organizing trend continues, advisories will be initiated on the system later today,” wrote senior hurricane forecaster Richard Pasch. “Interests in the Azores should monitor the progress of this system, and strong gusty winds could begin to affect portions of those islands by late Thursday or early Friday.”
Unusual, but not unprecedented, the January system would be named Alex if it powered itself into a subtropical or tropical storm nearly six months before the official start of the 2016 hurricane season. It’s heading east and poses no threat to the U.S.
“This one is trying to make the transition into something more,” said Pasch said Tuesday. “It’s not quite there yet, and may never get there.”
Five January tropical cyclones have spun around in the Atlantic since 1900, according to Philip Klotzbach, a research scientist with Colorado State University’s Department of Atmospheric Science. They include 1954’s Hurricane Alice, which was born in December but lasted through Jan. 6, 1955, and Tropical Storm Zeta – the last in 2005’s super active season. Zeta came to life Dec. 30 and lived through the New Year, dissipating also on Jan. 6.