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Azores: Hurricane Conditions expected over the central Azores later this morning

By CNN & The Weather Channel — last modified Jan 15, 2016 11:05 AM
ALEX WEAKENS SLIGHTLY WHILE IT MOVES CLOSER TO THE AZORES. HURRICANE CONDITIONS STILL EXPECTED OVER THE CENTRAL AZORES LATER THIS MORNING...

Published: 2016-01-15 00:00:00
Topics: Atlantic Ocean East , Weather
Countries: Azores

Azores: Hurricane Conditions expected over the central Azores later this morning

From the Weather Channel

In the northern Atlantic, the central Azores islands of Faial, Pico, Sao Jorge, Graciosa and Terceira now face hurricane warnings due to Alex. Tropical storm warnings are in place for Santa Maria and Sao Miguel, which contains the autonomous region's capital and largest city, Ponta Delgada.

As of early Friday morning local time, winds were already gusting over 45 mph at Ponta Delgada and Santa Maria.

The storm is expected to dump 3 to 5 inches of rain on the islands, with 7 inches possible in isolated areas. That precipitation could spur mudslides and flash floods, while dangerous storm surges could produce flooding along the coast.

The storm is showing signs of decay, but should remain at its current strength through Sunday night.

There's no expectation Alex will directly strike the United States or Europe. Instead, it will likely head north toward Greenland.

It has been nearly four decades since a winter storm in the Atlantic earned a name, and the National Hurricane Center went a step further Thursday, upgrading Alex to a hurricane.

At 10 p.m. ET Thursday, Hurricane Alex packed sustained 80-mph winds as it spun some 275 miles (about 433 kilometers) south of Portugal's Azores islands. Earlier the storm had maximum winds of 85 mph.

Alex's strength is surprising, because tropical storms thrive mostly over warm waters, something that's unexpected in the North Atlantic in the middle of winter. The water was indeed cool -- about 68 degrees Fahrenheit -- but the air was super cold at minus 76 degrees and the 144-degree difference helped give the storm enough energy to be a hurricane, CNN Severe Weather Expert Chad Myers said.

The Atlantic hurricane season officially runs from June 1 to November 30, but that doesn't mean tropical systems don't pop up at other times, although it is infrequent.

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