DENVER (KDVR) – The first named Atlantic tropical system of 2022 will be Alex and statistically, it should become a hurricane.
It is not normal for the first-named tropical system to be a hurricane and it is actually fairly rare. In the past 20 years, the first-named storm has been a hurricane three times, all were named Alex.
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) repeats its list of names for tropical systems every six years unless the storm brings catastrophic damage and the NHC retires the storm name. The name Alex was first used in the Atlantic basin in 1998 and it has been used three other times since.
Of the four times Alex was used, 75% of the storms strengthened to hurricane status.
In 2016, Hurricane Alex was a category 1 storm that had maximum wind speeds of 85 mph. The storm formed over the Bahamas before it moved over the open Atlantic, impacted the Azores, and dissipated over the North Atlantic.
In 2010 Hurricane Alex was a category 2 storm that recorded maximum wind speeds of 110 mph. The storm formed over the northwest Caribbean, moved over the Yucatan Peninsula as a tropical storm, intensified in the Gulf of Mexico, made landfall near Soto la Marina in Mexico, and dissipated over Mexico after landfall.
In 2004 Hurricane Alex was a category 3 storm that had maximum wind speeds of 120 mph. The storm formed east of Jacksonville, FL, increased in strength as it passed by the coastal Carolinas, brought flooding and coastal damage to the mid-Atlantic states, intensified over the open Atlantic, then dissipated with cooler sea surface temperatures in the Northern Atlantic.
In 1998 Tropical Storm Alex remained a Tropical Storm with maximum wind speeds of 50 mph. The storm formed near Cape Verde, moved into the southern Atlantic Ocean, and dissipated north of the Lesser Antilles.
We’ll just have to wait and see how strong Alex becomes this year, but with an above-average hurricane season being forecasted, we have a hurricane to begin the named tropical systems for 2022.