Portugal declares red alert as Hurricane Leslie nears

Michael, a Category 4 storm on the five-step Saffir-Simpson hurricane intensity scale when it came ashore, was causing flash flooding on Thursday in parts of North Carolina and Virginia, where some areas could get as much as 9 inches (23 cm) of rain, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

Michael, the third most powerful hurricane ever to hit the USA mainland, weakened overnight to a tropical storm but marched northeast yesterday, toppling trees with 80kmh winds and bringing "life threatening" flash flooding to Georgia and Virginia, the National Hurricane Centre (NHC) reported.

Hurricane Leslie could turn out to be the fiercest to hit Portugal since 1842, meteorologists warned on Saturday as the storm approached, packing winds up to 120 kilometers per hour (75 miles per hour).

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.

A tropical storm warning was discontinued for the Madeira archipelago.

Portugal's weather service issued red warnings - its highest level - for high winds or risky coastal conditions for 13 of its 18 mainland districts, including Lisbon, where it said the storm's effects will start to be felt around 6 p.m. Leslie could be the fiercest storm to hit the country since 1842.

Hurricane Leslie was moving quickly toward the Iberian Peninsula, the National Hurricane Center said Saturday.

Leslie first became a sub-tropical storm almost three weeks ago on September 23.

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

The hurricane is the only storm in the Atlantic.

Ophelia then made landfall in Ireland as a violent storm, killing three people. It's moving east-northeast at 33 miles per hour, the NHC said.

Vanessa Coleman