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Rare January hurricane weakens to tropical storm

A rare January hurricane in the Atlantic has weakened to a tropical storm after moving over the Azores.

Tropical Storm Alex's maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 70mph and it is moving away from the Portuguese island chain, where it brought rain, high waves and wind.

The storm is expected to lose tropical characteristics later in the day.

Alex was about 35 miles north of Terceira in the central Azores and was moving north near 28mph.

It was the first hurricane to form in the month of January since 1938.

Azores authorities closed schools and government offices on several islands, and officials told people to stay indoors. Regional airline SATA cancelled flights.

The archipelago has a population of around 250,000.

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