According to weather records, only five hurricanes have arrived in this part of the Atlantic Ocean. Leslie would be the powerful to reach Portugal since 1842
Heavy squalls began to blow Saturday evening in Portugal, as Hurricane Leslie approached. The country has been placed on red alert while the weather threatens to be the most powerful to hit the area since 1842.
Hurricane qualified by the experts of "Zombie"As he wandered over the waters of the Atlantic Ocean since September 23, Leslie set sail for the Iberian Peninsula. He was to land in the Lisbon area on the night of Saturday to Sunday, then moving to the category of "Post-tropical storm".
"The weather system has lost intensity, but it has gained momentum. It will therefore arrive a little earlier than expected and a little further north of Lisbon than expected "said the commander of the civil protection Luis Belo Costa, at a press point at 20 hours. The exact trajectory of Leslie, however, was uncertain due in part to another storm approaching the region from the North.
In anticipation of high winds and heavy rains, with gusts of up to 120 km / h, thirteen of the eighteen districts of the Portuguese mainland have been placed on red alert. Civil protection recommended that people move away from coastal areas and avoid leaving their homes.
The night of Saturday to Sunday is the most critical period, said Commander Belo Costa, warning against the risk of floods, falling trees and damage to energy and telecommunications networks.
The maritime authority advised the fishermen who were at sea to reach the nearest port and the airline TAP Portugal has canceled seven flights departing or arriving from Lisbon.
"We expect to experience a very complicated night especially because of the wind, which will increase very strongly and very fast. It's something we're not used to, warned the captain of the port of Setubal, Nicholson Lavrador, to the public television channel RTP.
"We do not know what the actual and concrete impact will be, so we advocate caution"said to the media the mayor of Lisbon, Fernando Medina, saying he also expects to live "Demanding hours". Before dark, the sea had started to break out on the beaches south of the capital.
According to the weather records quoted by the experts, only five hurricanes arrived in this part of the Atlantic Ocean and Leslie would be the powerful to reach Portugal since 1842. In the past 176 years, only Vince has touched land in the Iberian Peninsula , in southern Spain, in 2005.
In October 2017, strong winds and the heat wave brought by Hurricane Ophelia, off Portugal and the Spanish region of Galicia, fueled forest fires that left some 40 people dead. Ophelia then landed in Ireland in the form of a post-tropical storm, killing three people.
According to a statement issued Saturday by the Spanish meteorological agency Aemet, Leslie will arrive in Spain early Sunday morning, which can cause wind gusts of 100 km / h in the west of the country. "We expect storms in the South and East that could be very strong locally"said civil protection.
Spain has been severely hit by heavy rains in Mallorca, where 12 people died in floods on Tuesday.