Alex gusts into first hurricane formed in January since 1938

Alex Is Only Fourth Recorded Subtropical Storm to Form in January

Hurricane Alex blasted into the record books on Thursday as the first Atlantic hurricane to form during the month of January in more than three-quarters of a century, U.S. weather forecasters said.

The storm, with wind gusts up to 85 miles an hour (137 kph), was expected to bear down on the Azores islands off the coast of Portugal on Friday, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami. It did not pose a threat to the United States.

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Local authorities issued a hurricane warning for five islands in the central Azores, which could see flash flooding, mudslides and storm surge, said NHC spokesman Dennis Feltgen.

Alex was rated a "Category 1" hurricane, which is the lowest rating on the five-tier Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale.

Only two other hurricanes have appeared in January since forecasters began keeping records in 1851, Feltgen said. Hurricane Alice started in December and carried into January in 1955. The last time a hurricane formed in January was 1938.

Still, the early hurricane does not necessarily portend an unusually active storm period during the Atlantic hurricane season from June through November, Feltgen said. That forecast will be determined by weather conditions not yet seen.

"The good news is that even though we have got a hurricane in January, that is not a harbinger of what the 2016 hurricane season will be like," he said. "It is no reflection."

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Alex gusts into first hurricane formed in January since 1938
AT SEA - OCTOBER 28: In this handout satellite image provided by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Hurricane Sandy, pictured at 00:15 UTC, churns off the east coast on October 28, 2012 in the Atlantic Ocean. Sandy which has already claimed over 50 lives in the Caribbean is predicted to bring heavy winds and floodwaters to the mid-atlantic region. (Photo by NASA via Getty Images)

Hurricane Sandy at night, from space

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Hurricane Irene as Seen from Space

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IN SPACE - SEPTEMBER 11: In this handout satellite image provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), hurricane Humberto (R) forms as a category one on September 11, 2013 in the far eastern Atlantic Ocean. Humberto is the first hurricane of the 2013 season. (Photo by NOAA/NASA GOES Project via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JULY 3: In this handout provided by the NASA, Hurricane Arthur is seen from the International Space Staion as it moves up the U.S. East Coast on July 3, 2014. According to reports, Arthur will continue to strengthen and will reach a category two in strength prior to landfall as early as the evening on July 3. (Photo by NASA via Getty Images)
CARIBBEAN SEA - AUGUST 24: In this handout MODIS satellite image provided by the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Hurricane Irene (top center) churns over the Bahamas on August 24, 2011 in the Caribbean Sea. Irene, now a Category 3 storm with winds of 120 miles per hour, is projected to possibly clip the Outer Banks region of North Carolina before moving up the eastern seaboard of the U.S. (Photo by NASA via Getty Images)

Hurricane Irene Makes Landfall in North Carolina

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Hurricane Irene

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NASA's Terra Satellite Shows a Larger Hurricane Sandy Over Bahamas

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IN SPACE - SEPTEMBER 10: In this handout image provided by NASA, Hurricane Ike is seen on September 10, 2008 from aboard the International Space Station (ISS). The center of the hurricane was near 23.8 degrees north latitude and 85.3 degrees west longitude, moving 300 degrees at 7 nautical miles per hour. The sustained winds were 80 nautical miles per hour with gusts to 100 nautical miles per hour and forecast to intensify, according to NASA. The eye of the hurricane is expected to make landfall at Galveston Island early Saturday (13 September 2008) morning. (Photo by NASA via Getty Images)

Archive: South Pacific Storm (NASA, Skylab, 12/02/73)

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UNITED STATES - JANUARY 17: This photo of Hurricane Frances was taken by NASA ISS Science Officer and Flight Engineer Mike Fincke aboard the International Space Station as he flew 230 miles above the storm at about 10 am EDT Friday, 27 August 2004. At the time, Frances was about 820 miles east of the Lesser Antilles in the Atlantic Ocean, moving west-northwest at 10 miles an hour, with maximum sustained winds of 105 miles an hour. (Photo by SSPL/Getty Images)

Hurricane Dean photographed from Shuttle Endeavour [1680x1050]

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Hurricane Danielle (NASA, International Space Station Science, 08/27/10) [Explored]

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