'Zombie' storm Leslie smashes into Portugal, Spain

14 October 2018 - 17:58 By AFP
Branches were broken off trees on a street in the Benfica neigbourhood of Lisbon, Portugal, as hurricane Leslie went past on Sunday.
Branches were broken off trees on a street in the Benfica neigbourhood of Lisbon, Portugal, as hurricane Leslie went past on Sunday.
Image: Rafael Marchante/Reuters

Storms packing nearly 180km/h winds hit Portugal early Sunday leaving hundreds of thousands of people without power before carrying heavy rain on into Spain, authorities said. Twenty-seven people suffered minor injuries.

The region around capital Lisbon and the centre of the country at Coimbra and Leiria were worst hit with trees uprooted, cars and houses damaged and local flooding reported.

Aveiro, Viseu and Porto in the north also suffered damage with rescue services reporting a total of 1,900 incidents.

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.

Power was being restored across the north and centre of the country during the morning.

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

There were fears it could be the worst storm to hit the region in more than 150 years, but it weakened to a post-tropical storm before reaching the Portuguese coastline in the early hours of Sunday.

Only five hurricanes have ever arrived in this region of the Atlantic Ocean, and it had been feared Leslie could turn out to be the most powerful storm to hit Portugal since 1842.

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