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Has a hurricane or tropical storm ever formed in January?

It's rare, but it has happened before...more than once.
Credit: KHOU 11

HOUSTON — Yes, it's true. A tropical wave has formed far away in the Atlantic, near New England, and has been given the title ‘Invest 90-L.’  An invest is a weather system that forecasters want to get additional information on. 

First off, this is NOT a threat to us here in Southeast Texas and it’s also got a very low chance of development. That said, if it does develop, while rare, it won’t be the first time a tropical storm or hurricane would have formed in the Atlantic basin in the month of January. 

Before the start of the Atlantic Hurricane Season last year, meteorologist Tim Padajis went month-by-month, listing out named storms that formed outside of the Atlantic season, which runs from June 1 through November 30. 

As he noted, there have actually been four tropical storms or hurricanes on record in January. The first wasn’t that long ago. It was in 2016 that Hurricane Alex formed in the northeastern Atlantic Ocean. It made landfall as a tropical storm on the island of Terceira in the Azores, according to the National Hurricane Center

Before that, the only other hurricane to form in January was in 1938, before storms had names. In 1951, there was a tropical storm in the Atlantic basin and in 1978 there was a subtropical storm.

As of 4 p.m. Monday, the current system -- Invest 90-L -- had winds at 60 miles per hour and was moving to the east at 14 miles per hour. If it gets a name, it’ll be Arlene.    

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