Rare January hurricane weakens to tropical storm

This photo taken from video provided by NASA on Friday, Jan. 15, 2016 shows Hurricane Alex seen from the International Space Station. The rare January hurricane in the Atlantic closed in on the Azores on Friday, with authorities in the Portuguese islands warning of waves up to 18 meters (60 feet) high, wind gusts up to 160 kph (100 mph) and torrential rain. (NASA via AP)

MIAMI (AP) — A rare January hurricane in the Atlantic weakened to a tropical storm Friday morning after moving over the Azores.

Tropical Storm Alex’s maximum sustained winds had decreased to near 70 mph (110 kph) Friday morning and was moving away from the Azores, where it brought rain, high waves and wind. The storm was expected to lose tropical characteristics later in the day, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center.

Alex was centered about 35 miles (55 kilometers) north of Terceira in the central Azores and is moving north near 28 mph (44 kph).

As a hurricane, Alex was the first hurricane to form in the month of January since 1938.

In the Azores, schools and government offices on several islands remained closed, and officials told people to stay indoors. Azores regional airline SATA canceled morning flights.

The archipelago has a population of around 250,000.

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