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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Just because were not in an official hurricane season doesn’t mean Mother Nature is taking the winter off.

Late Wednesday, the National Hurricane Center issued an advisory for a subtropical storm in the far eastern Atlantic Ocean.

CBS4 Chief Meteorologist Craig Setzer said Alex is the first tropical or subtropical storm to form in January since an unnamed system did so in 1978. That makes it only the fourth known storm to form in this month since the historical record began in 1851.

At 9:45 p.m., the system had strengthened a bit and was about 665 miles south-southwest of the Azores.

Alex was moving northeast at about 17 mph. Its maximum sustained winds were near 60 mph with higher gusts.

Little change in strength is forecast Wednesday night and Thursday.

Alex is expected to become an extratropical low with storm-force winds as it approaches the Azores Thursday night and Friday.

Gale force winds are expected to begin over portions of Azores by late Thursday or early Friday.  Storm force winds are possible over portions of the Azores on Friday.

Alex is expected to produce total rain accumulations of three to five inches over the Azores through Friday, with possible isolated maximum amounts of seven inches. These rains may produce life-threatening flash floods and mud slides.

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