More than 300,000 without power as rare European hurricane slams into Portugal

A weakened hurricane Leslie slammed into the coast of Portugal, leaving 27 people injured as it uprooted trees, brought down power lines and smashed store windows with gusts of winds and heavy rain.

Over 60 people were forced to leave their homes and over 300,000 people suffered power outages, Luis Belo Costa of Portugal's National Protection Agency said.

People shelter from the rain under their umbrellas, in San Sebastian, northern Spain, after a weakened hurricane Leslie slammed into the coast of Portugal, leaving 27 people injured.
People shelter from the rain under their umbrellas, in San Sebastian, northern Spain, after a weakened hurricane Leslie slammed into the coast of Portugal, leaving 27 people injured. Source: Associated Press

He also gave the injury toll but added that none of the injuries were life-threatening.

People shelter from the rain under their umbrellas, in San Sebastian, northern Spain, after a weakened hurricane Leslie slammed into the coast of Portugal, leaving 27 people injured.
People shelter from the rain under their umbrellas, in San Sebastian, northern Spain, after a weakened hurricane Leslie slammed into the coast of Portugal, leaving 27 people injured. Source: Associated Press

Leslie had been downgraded from a Category 1 hurricane to a post-tropical cyclone with winds of 110 kph by the time it landed on Portugal's Atlantic coast yesterday.

But state broadcaster RTP said Leslie's wind speeds reached 170 kph in the coastal town of Figueira da Foz, 200 kilometres north of Lisbon.

Portugal's weather service had issued red warnings for high winds or dangerous coastal conditions for 13 of its 18 mainland districts, including Lisbon.

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

Over 200 power lines were affected by the storm, according to reports citing power authority EDP.

Some flights were also cancelled or delayed.

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

Leslie is a bit of a weather outlier, since hurricanes that regularly batter the American side of the Atlantic rarely bring their destructive power all the way across the ocean to Europe.

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Wild weather in Antarctica delays annual journey

Antarctica is facing a series of storms that have caused the longest delay for the start of the season in decades.

Antarctica New Zealand staff were due to fly south on 1 October to set up Scott Base for the science season ahead, but wild winds and snow have closed the McMurdo Sound airfields.

Antarctica New Zealand general manager of operations Simon Trotter said the team was working hard to minimise impact on work planned for the season.

"There are only 22 weeks in the season, so a two-week delay, especially at the beginning, is significant.

"Although weather delays are beyond our control, we deal with them every year. All we can do is re-schedule and wait for the window of opportunity."

"The storms have also affected our US neighbours who are due to fly south to McMurdo Station," Mr Trotter said.

"Unlike us, they can't send their employees home to wait it out - so many of them are getting to know Christchurch very well."

Meanwhile, the US participants in Christchurch are getting required training they would otherwise get in Antarctica to maximize their productivity once they reach McMurdo.

A US Air Force C17 Globemaster is patiently waiting on the tarmac at Christchurch Airport for the Antarctic storms to subside. As soon as the weather clears, the plane, along with an Airbus, will fly participants to the ice.

Weather permitting, flights will start tomorrow. The plan is to start clearing the backlog with seven flights over the next week if weather clears.

rnz.co.nz

The icy Antarctic sea. Source: 1 NEWS

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Super-cell storms, tornadoes tear roofs from homes, destroy crops in Queensland

Super-cell storms and tornadoes have torn roofs from homes and destroyed crops, leaving a trail of destruction in southern Queensland.

Farmers in the middle of harvest season have lost their crops, and are now looking at huge financial losses.

Residents who endured the tempest are in shock, including mother Fiona Simpson whose body was battered by huge hail stones as she tried to shield her baby when they got caught in their car near Kingaroy.

Ms Simpson posted confronting images of her injuries on social media, her back, shoulders and arms a mess of angry welts and bruises.

The Bureau of Meteorology said the South Burnett region and other parts of the southeast copped the brunt of three severe storms, two of them super-cell storms, with two tornadoes also sighted.

At Blackwater, in central Queensland, winds gusted to 144km/h, a wind speed associated with a Category 2 cyclone.

The winds tore roofs off homes and businesses, and hail stones as large as tennis balls destroyed wheat, barley, melon and stone fruit crops, downed power lines, and cut roads.

Queensland Dairy Farmers president Brian Tessmann said the storm's fury at his Coolabunia farm was like nothing he'd ever seen, with winds tearing the roofs from his home and dairy.

"The roof came off and it was bedlam from there, trying to hold doors shut, and water coming through the ceiling, and things flying through the air. It was quite something," he told the ABC.

"I saw it leaving out the window as it went in a couple of large pieces."

State Opposition Leader Deb Frecklinton said many farmers in her electorate of Nanango suffered enormous losses, having endured similarly devastating storms on Boxing Day last year.

"The human side of this is that people will lose their jobs today because there is no fruit left to pick," she told AAP.

"This was a huge storm. Many homes will be unliveable. For the farmers in particular, the people who've just got roofs back on after Boxing Day, this is just so sad."

Sandra Jaschke told the ABC there is extensive damage at her property, with the winds destroying a large carport, her laundry and a pump house, and an old abattoir on a property next door.

Teresa Francis said she lost fruit crops, with damage to her Kumbia orchard put at $2.1 million.

"It knocks you down. I've stopped crying but there's worse things that can happen. We are still all OK," she told the broadcaster.

About 9000 properties remain without power, down from 18,000 yesterday, with dozens of extra crews sent to the region to repair the damage.

South Burnett Mayor Keith Campbell said farmers are facing a long period of recovery.

"The hail was simply intense when it fell. It was very very prolific. It simply shredded the ears of wheat and barley that was out there to be harvested," he told the ABC.

Tornado-like supercells struck north of Brisbane yesterday, producing winds of 150kmh Source: 1 NEWS


Heavy snow set to hit parts of South Island, severe winds forecast for central New Zealand

A cold southerly flow is hitting Canterbury and Marlborough with heavy snow warnings in place, with powerful winds set to hit Wellington, Wairarapa and Auckland today.

MetService says a trough of low pressure in moving east across central and northern New Zealand, spreading a strong cold southerly flow across the country.

Snow is expected to low levels over many parts of central and southern New Zealand, and severe gale southerlies for parts of central New Zealand.

In Marlborough, the snow is expected to accumulate above 500 metres, with lesser amounts down to about 300 metres. The snow is likely to ease gradually through the day.

Strong wind gusts are expected to arrive in Taranaki around 5:00pm and last until tomorrow afternoon.

While in the Kaikoura Coast, Marlborough Sounds and Wellington severe southerly gales are forecast until 11:00pm today.

Periods of rain and showers are expected in Auckland today and tomorrow. The winds are expected to turn strong southerly early tomorrow, then ease out in the evening, and gradually dye out on Sunday.

Snow (file picture).
Source: istock.com