Unusual January tropical storm forms southwest of Hawaii - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Unusual January tropical storm forms southwest of Hawaii

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CENTRAL PACIFIC HURRICANE CENTER  Tropical Storm Pali is expected to take a southwest turn over the next three days. CENTRAL PACIFIC HURRICANE CENTER Tropical Storm Pali is expected to take a southwest turn over the next three days.

HONOLULU (AP) - An El Nino-related tropical storm has formed southwest of Hawaii, only the third such system to develop in January in over 40 years.

Tropical Storm Pali was about 1,400 miles southwest of Honolulu as of 11 a.m. Friday, the Central Pacific Hurricane Center said. It is not near land.

Pali is slowly moving west-northwest at 5 mph. It's expected to weaken over the next three to five days, said Kevin Kodama, a hurricane forecaster with the center.

Warm ocean temperatures near the equator caused the storm to form, he said.

The last January tropical storm in the central Pacific Ocean was in 1992, when there was a significant El Nino, Kodama said. The other was in 1989.

El Nino is the natural warming of the central Pacific that interacts with the atmosphere and changes weather worldwide. It occurs every two to seven years or so.

The current El Nino has tied 1997-1998 as the strongest on record, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Prediction Center said, citing statistics that go back to 1950.

This week, days of powerful El Nino-driven storms drenched California and other areas, stopping cable cars in San Francisco, stranding motorists and dumping heavy snow in northern Arizona.

El Nino is closely associated with heavy rain in California, and general warming. It has less of an effect farther away in Europe. With its flipside, La Nina, it is known as the El Nino Southern Oscillation, and it lasts about a year.

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