Hurricane Alex: Strongest Atlantic Winter Hurricane on Record

January 14, 2016 (1 pm EST)
Max-Sustained Wind: 75 kt / 85 mph / 981 mb / Category 1

Tropical-Storm-SymbolView the list of active tropical cyclones

Interesting Statistics about Hurricane Alex

  1. Alex is only the 2nd-known Atlantic hurricane to form during the month of January since records began (partial record as far back as 1842).
  2. Alex is the single strongest hurricane on record during meteorological winter (December, January, and February) [IBTrACS Database].
  3. Prior to Hurricane Alex, only two January hurricanes are found in the historical record, along with 3 in December. Alice in 1954-55 was a hurricane between December 31, 1954 and January 4, 1955.  Counting Alice, there have been a total of three known hurricanes in the Atlantic basin during the month of January; however, only two have formed in January.
  4. Sea surface temperatures 3ºF to 4ºF above normal

• Read the previous post with winter tropical storm statistics
• View the sea surface temperatures and SST anomalies
• Watch a fast animation of Alex forming (wind field and pressure)

List of Atlantic Hurricanes that Formed in December or January

StormYearMax-WindFormedDissipated
Alex201675 ktJanuary 14, 2016----
Lili198470 ktDec 12, 1984Dec 24, 1984
Unnamed193870 ktJan 01, 1938Jan 06, 1938
Unnamed188770 ktDec 04, 1887Dec 10, 1887

dec-jan-hurricanes-atlantic

Fast Animation of Alex’s Formation

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Atlantic Sea Surface Temperatures

It’s interesting that the SST gradient has the same orientation as the path of Invest-90.  In the area where Tropical Storm Alex ultimately formed on January 12, sea surface temperatures were approximately 3 to 4 degrees (ºF) above normal.  Here is the SST anomaly map:

sea-surface-temperatures-anomalies-hurricane-sst-alex

The following map shows the actual sea surface temperatures which clearly exceed 80ºF in the TC formation/intensification zone.

sea-surface-temperatures-january-13-alex
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Amazing Satellite View of Alex on January 14, 2016

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