Rare January hurricane moving closer to the Azores

MIAMI: A rare January hurricane in the Atlantic is getting closer to the Azores early Friday.

Hurricane Alex is the first hurricane to form in the month of January since 1938.

The storm's maximum sustained winds Friday morning have decreased to near 75 mph (120 kph). The US National Hurricane Center says little change in strength is expected over the next day or so, but Alex will likely lose its tropical characteristics by the afternoon or overnight as it moves over colder waters.

Alex is centered about 130 miles (210 kilometers) south of Terceira Island in the central Azores, where a hurricane warning is in effect, and is moving north near 23 mph (37 kph).

The Azores government on Thursday advised kindergartens to stay closed and told residents to ensure drainage systems aren't blocked. The archipelago has a population of around 250,000.