The National Hurricane Center on Thursday morning promoted a storm named Alex to hurricane status, and, yes, such a thing doesn't happen very often in January.

In fact, only four tropical or subtropical storms had formed in January before Alex, and only one of those, a nameless 1938 cyclone, went on to become a hurricane.

Alex, spinning about 400 miles south of the Azores had peak winds of 85 m.p.h.

Hurricane warnings are in effect for five islands in the central Azores, off the Iberian peninsula, and tropical storm warnings have been hoisted for two islands to the east.

The hurricane center notes that in addition to timing, Alex is unusual in that it has blown up over unimpressively warm water -- about 68 degrees Fahrenheit.

But upper-air temperatures are well below normal for that area, about 78 below zero. It's the old maxim: Warm air rises over cold  air.

The hurricane center reckons that the temperature contrasts has allowed Alex to intensify and develop a distinct, signature eye.

In any event, it won't have any impact around here.