On one side of the US, a low pressure system in the Atlantic has strengthened rapidly from a tropical storm to become Hurricane Alex.
On the other, Pali has also strengthened to a hurricane and back to a tropical storm in the past four days.
Both weather systems are extremely unusual.
The new Atlantic hurricane is the first one to form this early (in January) since 1938, NASA says, citing the National Hurricane Center (NHC).
Pali, in the central Pacific, is the the earliest hurricane ever recorded over the Central Pacific Basin in a calendar year, forming 19 days earlier than the previous record holder, Hurricane Ekeka of 1992.
But it could also be the first ever recorded to cross the equator.
Here’s Alex beginning to form:
By 10am EST Thursday, Alex had hurricane-force winds reaching 40km out from its centre, with tropical storm-force winds reaching up to 240km out.
Alex is not just the first Atlantic hurricane to form in January, it’s also the first North Atlantic hurricane to thrive in January since Hurricane Alice in 1955, which formed on December 30, 1954, said NASA.
Here’s Pali in the central Pacific a couple of days ago:
It’s “erratic”, says NASA, in both the path it’s taking and constant fluctuation in intensity. Right now, it’s back to a tropical storm, but still skirting the equator. It’s already come closer to the mark than any other recorded:
— Philip Klotzbach (@philklotzbach) January 13, 2016
Here’s its most recent position, according to Weather Underground:
Whether it’s about to dissipate is anyone’s guess, but both hurricanes have formed on the back of a record-breaking cyclone season, fueled by one of the most intense El Niño events ever recorded.
With an equally intense La Niña on its way, prepare to batten down the hatches.
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