Portugal declares red alert as Hurricane Leslie nears; first in 176 years

Frederick Owens
October 14, 2018

Leslie was dubbed a "zombie" hurricane as it first formed on September 23, only to meander through the Atlantic Ocean for weeks.

Hurricane Leslie was moving quickly toward the Iberian Peninsula, the National Hurricane Center said Saturday.

Even before nightfall the sea was beginning to surge at beaches south of the Portuguese capital, with surfers ordered to return to shore.

Kathy Coy stands among what is left of her home after Hurricane Michael hit Panama City, Florida.

"The meteorological system has lost intensity but gained speed".

Portugal's National Protection Agency advised residents to "avoid at all costs walking on the street".

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Michael caused widespread power outages, downed trees and power lines and damaged buildings in a wide swath of southern and central Virginia on Thursday night and Friday morning. Portugal's weather service had issued red warnings for high winds or risky coastal conditions for 13 of its 18 mainland districts, including Lisbon.

Forecasters said that portions of Portugal will experience near hurricane-force winds.

"We don't know what the real and concrete impact will be, so we're erring on the side of caution", Lisbon's mayor Fernando Medina told reporters.

It is rare for an Atlantic hurricane to reach the Iberian Peninsula, and it is thought this could be the most powerful to hit Portugal since 1842. Tropical force winds were felt up to 160 miles (260 kilometers) from its center.

Ophelia then made landfall in Ireland as a violent storm, killing three people.

Leslie is now over northern Spain, and emergency services warned of the possibility of flash floods and urged to motorists to be vigilant in case of strong winds.

Other reports by LeisureTravelAid

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