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