Portugal issues red alert for rare Atlantic hurricane

Remnants of Hurricane Michael heading toward Europe

Leslie had been downgraded from a category one hurricane to a post-tropical cyclone with winds of 110kmh by the time it landed on Portugal's Atlantic coast late on Saturday.

The civil defence services said 324,000 people were left without electricity while more than 60 people had to leave their damaged homes and flee to safety.

Leslie caused a lot of tree damage in the Portuguese seaside town of Figueira da Foz.

During the morning Castilla y León, Extremadura and parts of western Andalucia will be buffeted by winds of around 100 km/h and heavy rain that, locally, could deposit more than 80 litres/m2.

Governor Ralph Northam today declared a state of emergency in anticipation of impacts from Tropical Storm Michael. But Leslie was still expected to generate ocean swells that would affect Madeira, the Azores and the Canary Islands throughout the weekend, in addition to the Atlantic coasts of Spain, Portugal and Morocco.

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The storm could produce flash flooding in portions of Portugal and Spain and life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.

Only Hurricane Vince has made landfall on the Iberian peninsula over the last 176 years, hitting southern Spain in 2005, according to weather records.

Leslie first became a sub-tropical storm almost three weeks ago on September 23.

In October 2017, strong winds from passing Hurricane Ophelia fed forest fires that killed around 40 people during a heatwave.

Hurricane Leslie is forecast to weaken slightly as it moves east toward the Iberian Peninsula on Saturday, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

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