A sub-tropical storm over the Atlantic has become a hurricane, the first in January in the region since 1938.

The US National Hurricane Centre (NHC) said the storm – “Alex” – was 785 miles south-west of the Azores, an archipelago in the mid-Atlantic belonging to Portugal with winds up to 85 miles per hour.

Storm Alex is moving north-east and is expected to hit the Azores on Friday, prompting a hurricane warning.

It is one of the earliest tropical systems to form in the Atlantic Hurricane Basin since records began.

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