Rare January subtropical storm forms in eastern Atlantic

Subtropical Storm Alex is the first storm to form in Atlantic in 38 years.

Story highlights

  • No storm has formed in the Atlantic in January since 1978
  • Forecasters don't think Alex will impact the United States
  • Alex's maximum sustained winds get faster

(CNN)Subtropical Storm Alex has formed in the eastern Atlantic, the first storm to form in that ocean in January in 38 years, the National Hurricane Center said Wednesday.

Alex is the first named storm of 2016, though the Atlantic hurricane season doesn't officially begin until June 1.
It is the first storm to form in the Atlantic in January since 1978 and is just the fourth known storm to form in the month since records began in 1851.
    Alex has maximum sustained winds of 60 mph (95 kph).
    The storm will impact the Azores in the northeastern Atlantic with gale force winds and heavy rain late Thursday into Friday.
    The storm might produce rainfall totals between 3 and 5 inches as it passed over the Azores.
    The Azores are a group of nine islands about 800 miles (1,287 kilometers) west of mainland Portugal.
    Alex is not forecast to come near the United States.
    Subtropical systems have characteristics of a tropical storm but also have characteristics of an extratropical storm.
    Storms that are tropical get their energy from warm water. Extratropical storms get their energy from the clash of warm and cold air masses.
    Subtropical storms have a broader wind field than a tropical storm and are generally less symmetric. They also are slower to strengthen, typically speaking, than tropical systems.