Leslie weakens from hurricane as it nears Portugal, Spain

Remnants of Hurricane Michael heading toward Europe

Hurricane Or Not, Leslie Makes A Rare Landfall Across Portugal Tonight - Blog by Nick Finnis

Winds from Leslie, which strengthened from a tropical storm to a Category 1 hurricane earlier this week, weakened slightly below the threshold for a Category 1 storm Saturday with maximum sustained winds of 70 miles per hour.

Leslie is moving northeast at 38 miles per hour (61 kph) and its maximum sustained winds are 75 miles per hour (120 kph).

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.

At least 1,000 trees were uprooted, mainly in coastal towns north of Lisbon where the storm first reached land, hitting power lines and blocking roads.

It will arrive at the central coast Saturday night and continue into Spain as a weaker storm.

- Gov. Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency in Virginia on Thursday ahead of Tropical Storm Michael's arrival to the region.

Throughout the weekend, Leslie's ocean swells were also expected to wrack Madeira, the Azores and the Canary Islands.

Hurricanes formed on the American side of the Atlantic rarely bring their destructive force to Europe. Unsafe winds with gusts reaching 75mph, perhaps as high as 90mph with exposure, risky surf and heavy rainfall (locally over 100mm) will affect Portugal and western Spain tonight and into Sunday before the system weakens as it moves inland.

Hurricane Leslie is in its last day, but it is a surprising threat to Portugal and Spain.

Spain's civil protection agency said storms in the south and east of the country could be "very strong locally" and that heavy rain was expected in the north and east.

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