Outlier cyclone heads to Spain after slamming into Portugal

Michael leaves damage, impacts many across Hampton Roads

Heavy squalls began to hit Portugal late on Saturday (Oct 13), with the country on red alert as Hurricane Leslie barrelled towards its coastline in what could be the fiercest storm since 1842.

Winds sent trees crashing onto cars and sidewalks in the Portuguese capital and in the northern city of Porto.

The remnants of Hurricane Leslie swept in overnight on Saturday, with winds gusting up to 176km/h (109mph).

The storm formed on September 23 and spent weeks in the Atlantic Ocean before coming to the Iberian peninsula.

The storm, carrying winds of up 100 km/h, was most intense during the night. "The north and centre were the worst affected".

The roof blew off a stadium hosting the European final of the women's roller hockey competition, halting the event, AFP news agency reported. Authorities had urged people to stay indoors and keep away from coastal areas.

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Portugal's weather service issued red warnings - its highest level - for high winds or risky coastal conditions for 13 of its 18 mainland districts, including Lisbon, where it said the storm's effects will start to be felt around 6 p.m. Leslie could be the fiercest storm to hit the country since 1842.

The main motorway in Portugal was blocked by a fallen tree preventing services from traveling.

There have been no reports of deaths or injuries, but officials have warned people not to venture outdoors, and a number of flights have been cancelled.

Only five are on record, including Hurricane Ophelia whose air mass fueled forest fires in Portugal and Spain in 2017.

The system that was Hurricane Michael is now a strong North Atlantic low-pressure system speeding toward Europe.

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