Cyclone Leslie slams into Portugal, leaves 27 injured

Figueira da Foz Portugal

Figueira da Foz Portugal

Leslie was set to make landfall in the Lisbon area overnight on Saturday, by which time it is expected to have been downgraded to a tropical storm.

Winds sent trees crashing on to cars and pavements in the Portuguese capital and in the northern city of Porto.

Portugal bore the brunt of the cyclone, with at least 27 people injured, thousands of trees uprooted, and more than 300,000 homes losing power.

Gusty winds, heavy rainfall and large swell will impact Portugal and parts of Spain tonight and early Sunday.

Neighbouring Spain was also preparing itself for what was dubbed a "zombie" hurricane, as it first formed on Sep 23 and has been meandering through the waters of the Atlantic Ocean for weeks.

"Gradual strengthening is forecast during the next few days, and the depression is expected to become a tropical storm later tonight or early Monday".

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"The greatest danger has passed", Costa said. More than two dozen flights were cancelled in or out of Lisbon.

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.

The beach resort of Figueira da Foz, near Coimbra, saw a peak gust of 176 kilometres per hour (109 mph), France's La Chaine Meteo reported.

The A1, the main motorway running through Portugal, was temporarily blocked by a fallen tree, authorities said. "People were very anxious", the BBC reported. Ophelia then made landfall in Ireland as a violent storm, killing three people.

Spain's Mediterranean island of Mallorca [Majorca] is still recovering from massive rainfalls and flash floods, especially in its eastern coastal regions, last Tuesday that killed 12 people, including tourists from Germany.

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