Hurricane Michael tears Florida towns apart, six dead

Storm Leslie: Portugal hit by hurricane-force winds

Maximum sustained winds in the former Category 1 hurricane decreased to 70 miles per hour (110 kph) as the storm neared Portugal's west coast, the U.S National Hurricane Center in Miami said.

Leslie, strengthened from a tropical storm to a Category 1 hurricane this week, has maximum sustained winds of 75 miles per hour.

Michael killed at least six people in Florida, Georgia and North Carolina from falling trees and other hurricane-related incidents, officials and local media said.

Hurricane Leslie was quickly heading 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.

The Portuguese Institute for Sea and Atmosphere (IPMA) said Leslie on landfall would loose intensity and pass to the category of "post-tropical storm".

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Gusty winds, heavy rainfall and large swell will impact Portugal and parts of Spain tonight and early Sunday. "It will therefore arrive a bit earlier than predicted and a bit further north of Lisbon", Portugal's civil protection chief Luis Belo Costa told reporters on Saturday evening.

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

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.

The storm, one of the most powerful to ever hit the country, is now heading for Spain.

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

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