Warm weather leads to 2016's first named storm

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Subtropical Storm Alex is a rare named storm in January.

Forecasters say an out-of-season subtropical storm has formed far out in the Atlantic Ocean and could threaten the Azores in the coming days.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said Wednesday that Subtropical Storm Alex could produce powerful winds and heavy rains over the Azores later this week.

ABC11 Chief Meteorologist Chris Hohmann said a named storm hasn't formed in January since 1978, and that it's only the fourth time since record-keeping began in 1851.

The Azores could see 3 to 5 inches of rain through Friday, with some areas getting as much as 7 inches. Forecasters warn this could lead to flash floods and mudslides. Gale-force winds are expected to reach the archipelago by late Thursday.

The storm's maximum sustained winds were at 50 mph (85 kph) on Wednesday afternoon. It was moving northeast at 14 mph (22 kph) and was centered about 785 miles (1,260 kilometers) south of the Azores.

Hurricane season starts June 1

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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