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Hurricane Alex socked the Azores on Friday — but it was a glancing blow.
The 15-mile wide eye of the first January hurricane in 78 years missed the archipelago by a dozen miles. The hurricane toppled trees, snapped power and triggered flooding, but there were no immediate reports of casualties on the Portuguese archipelago that is home to 250,000 people.
"Hurricane Alex has weakened to a tropical storm as it moves away from the Azores Islands," the National Hurricane Center reported on its Facebook page. "The Azores Meteorological Service has discontinued the hurricane and tropical storm warning for the Azores."
Alex was packing winds of 80 mph as it bore down on the Azores but they weakened on Thursday night, the NHS reported.
Hurricanes usually form in the Atlantic Ocean between June 1 and Nov. 30, so Alex was a meteorological rarity not seen in the month of January since 1938.