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Hurricane Alex was a very unusual cyclone that occurred in January 2016. It was the first January Atlantic hurricane since 1938, and only the 2nd one on record.

The extratropical cyclone that would eventually give birth to Alex formed, as mentioned, near the Bahamas on January 5. Moving towards the northeast, it intensified into a hurricane force low as it passed Bermuda on January 7, when it was assessed as having a low potential for tropical cyclone development. By early on January 10, the system had a notable increase in convection, but due to it being connected to a frontal system, it wasnt upgraded to a subtropical storm at the time, but its chances of undergoing tropical or subtropical cyclogenesis were raised to the medium category. The following day, the precursor low began to detach from its frontal system in the form of a cutoff low as it turned more east-northeast, and a high chance of tropical or subtropical cyclone formation was raised to the high category.

It is estimated that Subtropical Storm Alex developed about midway between Bermuda and the Lesser Antilles at 1800 UTC on January 12 after another burst of convection and an increase in organisation occurred. The subtropical storm weakened the following day due to inner core structural changes, before intensifying again later that day. Based on my observations during the storm, it is estimated that Alex transitioned into a fully tropical storm at 0000 UTC on January 14, before intensifying into a hurricane several hours later, and peaking with 90 mph winds by 1800 UTC, besides cool (20-22C) waters underneath the cyclones center of circulation.

On January 15, the combination of cooler sea surface temperatures and steadily increasing shear caused the start of an extratropical transition, and Alex weakened to a tropical storm around 1200 UTC that day as its wind field began to expand, before becoming extratropical again several hours later as it sped towards the northwest, eventually being absorbed by a larger low near Greenland on January 17.

As a tropical cyclone, Alex caused 1 fatality, and minimal damages. The cyclone passed through the Azores without making landfall during the afternoon (UTC) of January 15.


SSHWS category 1-min winds Pressure Location Date and time ACE generated
Subtropical Storm 60 mph 988 mbar 25.1N, 35.9W 12/01/2016 1800 UTC 0.25
Subtropical Storm 60 mph 988 mbar 25.4N, 34.7W 13/01/2016 0000 UTC 0.25
Subtropical Storm 50 mph 989 mbar 25.6N, 33.6W 13/01/2016 0600 UTC 0.2025
Subtropical Storm 50 mph 990 mbar 26.0N, 32.5W 13/01/2016 1200 UTC 0.2025
Subtropical Storm 60 mph 989 mbar 26.7N, 31.4W 13/01/2016 1800 UTC 0.25
Tropical Storm 65 mph 988 mbar 27.9N, 30.4W 14/01/2016 0000 UTC 0.3025
Category 1 hurricane 75 mph 985 mbar 29.3N, 29.6W 14/01/2016 0600 UTC 0.4225
Category 1 hurricane 85 mph 982 mbar 30.8N, 28.7W 14/01/2016 1200 UTC 0.5625
Category 1 hurricane 90 mph 979 mbar 32.5N, 28.0W 14/01/2016 1800 UTC 0.64
Category 1 hurricane 80 mph 983 mbar 33.9N, 27.6W 15/01/2016 0000 UTC 0.49
Category 1 hurricane 75 mph 986 mbar 35.4N, 27.2W 15/01/2016 0600 UTC 0.4225
Tropical Storm 65 mph 988 mbar 38.0N, 27.0W 15/01/2016 1200 UTC 0.3025
Total ACE 4.2975

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