ZOMBIE HURRICANE LESLIE TO HIT PORTUGAL AND SPAIN THIS WEEKEND AND PACK A PUNCH
This weekend Hurricane Leslie is forecast to hit Portugal and Spain and back a punch. It will remain a CAT 1 hurricane of the Portuguese coast and then forecast to become a powerful tropical storm on Saturday as it heads overland. Hurricane Leslie is now 20 day old.
Leslie has held on like a zombie in the Atlantic since September, but the wandering in the ocean may come to an end well before Halloween.
Leslie has been meandering the Atlantic since it first formed on 23rd September 2018.
Through Friday, Oct. 12, Leslie has stayed between 30 and 65 degrees west longitude well away from any land or island areas and has survived on warm waters and moisture over the middle of the Atlantic.
Now, all of that may change as a non-tropical feature is forecast to pull Leslie eastward and allow the storm to break out of the central Atlantic region, where it has been trapped for weeks.
Despite the exact strength of Leslie, waves of heavy rain, as well as gusty winds will be likely across Madeira, even if there is not direct landfall.
Increasingly heavy rain and a uptick in wind gusts are expected to start as early as late Saturday in Portugal.
In order for Leslie to be the longest-lived tropical cyclone on record, it would have to hold through the third week of October and into the fourth week of the month. Pacific Hurricane/Typhoon John holds the record for longevity with 31 days.
There is a chance that Leslie may rival the Atlantic tropical cyclone longevity record. That title is held by the San Ciriaco Hurricane in 1899. The 1899 storm killed thousands of people in Puerto Rico and lasted for nearly 28 days.
Leslie is forecast to transition into a powerful hurricane-force post-tropical cyclone in about 24 hours as it interacts with an approaching trough. The post-tropical cyclone is expected to make landfall along the west coast of the Iberian Peninsula shortly thereafter, and it should weaken due to land interaction after that time. The system is forecast to dissipate inland by Monday.
The global models are now unanimous in taking Leslie quickly east-northeastward on the south side of a strong long wave trough over the northeast Atlantic. The official track foreast as been adjusted northward and is significantly faster than before, and brings the center of Leslie over the coast of the Iberian Peninsula by 0000 UTC Sunday. The system is likely to dissipate over the high terrain of Spain within a couple of days, but a 48-h forecast point is shown for continuity. Now that the track guidance is in much better agreement, confidence in the NHC track forecast has increased.
Leslie is expected to bring near hurricane-force winds onSaturday to portions of Portugal as a powerful post-tropical cyclone. Tropical-storm-force winds are also likely to affect portions of western Spain.
Leslie is expected to produce rainfall amounts of 25 to 75 mm (1 to 3 inches) with isolated amounts as high as 100 mm (4 inches) across portions of Portugal and Spain, which could cause flash flooding.
Leslie first formed over the middle of the Atlantic and about 1,145 miles (1,845 km) west-southwest of the Azores.
During the first few days of its life, Leslie was a subtropical storm. A subtropical storm has characteristics of a tropical storm and also a non-tropical storm.
During the late afternoon hours on Saturday, 29th September, Leslie had acquired full tropical characteristics.
Early on Wednesday, 3rd October, Leslie became a hurricane. However, it would not be the last time for Leslie to do so.
By the late afternoon hours on Thursday, 4th October, Leslie had weakened to a tropical storm and would remain as a tropical storm into Tuesday, 9th October.
During the late evening hours on 9th October, Leslie again garnered enough strength to regain hurricane status.
Swells generated by Leslie will likely affect portions of the Azores, Madeira Island and the Canary Islands through Saturday and will reach the Atlantic coasts of Spain, Portugal, and Morocco over the weekend.These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.
Leslie is unusual in that it has brought the first tropical storm warning ever to Madeira. There have not been any recorded tropical storms within 100 miles of the island.