The National Hurricane Center has upgraded a storm blowing through the Atlantic to hurricane status, a rarity given the timing of the tempest.

Hurricane Alex is roughly 500 miles south of Portugal's Azores islands, CNN reported Thursday. The official Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30.

Alex is the first named storm of 2016, and the first to form in the Atlantic in January since 1978, CNN reported.

The storm had reportedly reached maximum wind speeds of 85 mph by 10 a.m. ET. It was expected to turn north and hit the Azores Friday morning, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Alex was not expected to hit the U.S., the NHC said, but would continue its northern trajectory toward Greenland.