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January 2016 Hurricanes: Alex, Ula and Pali!

By Jesse Ferrell, Meteorologist/Community Director
1/15/2016, 11:01:44 AM

UPDATE 9 a.m. 1/14/2016: Alex has been upgraded to a hurricane, the second Atlantic January hurricane ever and the first since 1954's Hurricane Alice.


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This makes the third hurricane in the tropics so far this month! (Hurricane Palu and Cat 4 Cyclone Ula are discussed below). Add to that the tropical depression/subtropical storm in the South Atlantic, and this has been quite an unusual January! Thanks probably go to El Nino.


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ORIGINAL REPORT 1/13/2016:

A couple of updates on the unusual January tropical activity from last week.

1. Subtropical Storm Alex The NHC is issuing advisories on Alex at 4 p.m. It's not the first Subtropical Storm to form in January -- there was at least one in 1978.


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Even if it been named a Tropical Storm, there were three precedents for that (shown below): An unnamed Tropical Storm in 1938 which formed on New Year's Day. Tropical Storm Zeta 2005 and Hurricane Alice 1954 formed in December but lasted until January.


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Alex is likely bound for eastern Canada, though it will no longer be a subtropical storm by then. There is little chance it could reach hurricane strength.


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2. Cyclone Ula: Cyclone Ula in the South Pacific became a major, Category 4 storm Sunday night! Only three Category 4 cyclones have ever existed in NOAA's recorded history for the basin: Ofa in 1990, Category 5 Ron in 1998, and, most recently, Oli in 2010. Yesterday, the storm was reduced to a Tropical Depression and it is now officially dead. Here's what it looked like at its peak - very impressive!


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3. Hurricane Pali: Pali, in the Central Pacific became a hurricane early yesterday, maxed out at Category 2 strength, and is likely to be reduced to a tropical storm tonight. It is headed southwest, back towards its formation area, and could go below its initial formation latitude (which was a record, in addition to it being the earliest storm in the basin), as low as 2 degrees! This satellite image was from yesterday when it was a hurricane:


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Pali has continued to challenge mapping systems that aren't used to showing things below the equator!


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The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com

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