Unprecedented: January Storms in Atlantic and Pacific
January 13, 2016
Nothing to see here, move along.
As we ring in the New Year with record to near-record warm temperatures over much of Earth’s oceans, we are confronted with something that would have been unimaginable a few decades ago: simultaneous January named storms in both the Atlantic and Central Pacific.
The earliest named storm on record in the Central Pacific, Hurricane Pali, formed on January 7, and now the Atlantic has joined the early-season hurricane party, with Subtropical Storm Alex spinning up into history with 50 mph winds in the waters about 785 miles south-southwest of the Azores Islands. The average date of the first named storm in the Atlantic is July 9; the Central Pacific also typically sees its first named storm in July. Alex could retain its subtropical characteristics till as late as Friday, when it will be shooting northward toward Greenland en route to being absorbed in a high-latitude storm.
Meanwhile, Pali is predicted to remain a tropical cyclone for at least the next five days, perhaps coming within 2° latitude of the equator–something only two other tropical cyclones in world history have been observed to do–as the storm arcs toward the southwest and eventually back northwest, potentially becoming a typhoon when it crosses the Date Line.