Hurricane Alex
Category 1 hurricane (SSHWS/NWS)
Alex 2016-01-14 1300Z
Hurricane Alex near peak intensity on January 14
Formed January 12, 2016
Dissipated January 17, 2016
(Extratropical after January 15)
Highest winds 1-minute sustained: 85 mph (140 km/h)
Lowest pressure 981 mbar (hPa); 28.97 inHg
Fatalities 1 indirect
Damage Minimal
Areas affected Bermuda, The Azores
Part of the 2016 Atlantic hurricane season

Hurricane Alex was a very rare January hurricane and the first named storm of the active 2016 Atlantic hurricane season. Forming from an extratropical cyclone on January 12, Alex strengthened to a peak intensity at 12:00 UTC on January 14 with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph and a minimum pressure of 981 millibars. Alex then weakened to a strong tropical storm and passed through the Azores at this intensity.

Meteorological History

On January 7, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) noted the possibility of subtropical or tropical development with a developing extratropical cyclone in the eastern subtropical Atlantic over the next several days. The extratropical cyclone strengthened to a hurricane-force low early on January 10. Slight weakening occurred the next day as the extratropical cyclone began to detach from its frontal boundaries. By January 12, frontal boundaries had completely dissipated from the cyclone and deep convection had begun to develop near the center of the cyclone. At 18:00 UTC that day, the extratropical cyclone had completed subtropical cyclogenesis and became Subtropical Storm Alex. Alex then weakened slightly overnight, as it continued to become increasingly tropical. On the evening of January 13, despite being located in water temperatures around 20 degrees Celsius, well below the typical threshold for a tropical cyclone, fairly low wind shear and high atmospheric instability allowed Alex to strengthen. By 06:00 UTC on January 14, Alex had acquired hurricane status despite still having some subtropical characteristics. Alex then reached its peak intensity 6 hours later with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph and a minimum pressure of 981 millibars. Alex retained this intensity for 6 hours, but began to weaken around 00:00 UTC on January 15 as shear increased and sea surface temperatures cooled. Alex weakened to a 65-mph tropical storm that morning and passed through the Azores at this intensity. Alex transitioned into an extratropical cyclone at 18:00 UTC on January 15, ending the life of this rare January hurricane.