'Zombie' Hurricane Leslie bears down on Portugal, Spain

School bus

Hurricane Leslie weakened slightly as is headed toward Portugal and Spain on Saturday, with forecasters expecting it to bring heavy rains and unsafe winds and surf to parts of the Iberian Peninsula.

A tropical storm warning is in effect for Madeira Island and forecasters say portions of Portugal will experience near hurricane-force winds.

Hurricane Leslie was downgraded to a tropical storm and by Sunday morning most of the powerful winds and heave rains had subsided. Tropical force winds were felt up to 160 miles (260 kilometers) from its center.

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.

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Luis Belo Costa of Portugal's National Protection Agency says Sunday those injuries were not life-threatening.

More than 15,000 homes were reported to be without power, while several flights to and from Lisbon were cancelled.

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

Over the past 176 years, only Hurricane Vince has made landfall on the Iberian peninsula, hitting southern Spain in 2005, according to weather records cited by experts.

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In October 2017, strong winds from Hurricane Ophelia, which travelled north off the coast of Portugal and western Spain, fed forest fires that killed around 40 people during a heatwave.

Leslie continued to move east across the Iberian Peninsula to Spain, where authorities have issued warnings for heavy rains and storm conditions in the northern part of the country.

Earlier this week, 12 people died in the flooding on Mallorca in the Mediterranean.

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