Weird and wonderful Leslie remained a hurricane within 100 miles of Portugal, Strongest hit since 1880s

Written by on October 17, 2018 in Rest of Europe, Tropical with 0 Comments

It was one of those oddities of the 2018 season, you get them now and again where they go one way, the other way, up and down and just keep on going.

The eventual demise of Leslie was colder waters off Portugal but like Vince in 2005 and Ophelia in 2017, Leslie defied the laws of tropical physics by remaining a tropical cyclone and weak hurricane over waters well below the 27C threshold.

Credit: Tropical Tidbits

Good atmospheric conditions tend to take over when waters are too cool and therefore this was a unique situation in which a hurricane got within 100 miles of Portugal. Likely a first in modern times.

This system also strangely fed not one but two separate ‘atmospheric river’ events into the UK last week too as long trailing weather fronts tapped Leslie’s heat and moisture.

During Leslie’s 19 day voyage across the Atlantic, she took on several forms.

Despite loosing tropical characteristics on final approach of the Portuguese coast, an inner core with remnant/partial eye and eyewall was still visible at landfall.

Though not a hurricane at landfall, Leslie’s impact and damage was comparable with wind gusts of 109 mph measured at Figueira da Foz, Portugal and over 60 mph in the city of Zamora.

Leslie was the first tropical origin system to hit Portugal since Vince and was much stronger than Vince with bigger impacts not just from wind but rainfall.

North of the landfall point and flash floods killed at least 10 people.

Meteo-France reported the following rainfall totals in the south of France:

  • 11.6 inches (296 mm) fell in eight hours near Carcassonne, 9.6 inches (244 mm) fell in six hours and 4.4 inches (111 mm) in two hours.
  • 14.3 inches (364 mm) fell in 24 hours in the Haut-Languedoc region.


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