Cyclone Leslie battered Portugal and Spain this weekend, bringing 100-mph winds and heavy rain to Lisbon, the Portuguese capital. Luis Belo Costa of Portugal’s National Protection Agency urged people to “avoid at all costs walking on the street,” according to the Associated Press.


An infrared satellite image of Cyclone Leslie approaching the Iberian Peninsula. (AEMET/AFP) (HANDOUT)

Portugal bore the brunt of the cyclone, with at least 27 people injured, thousands of trees uprooted, and more than 300,000 homes losing power. About 60 people were forced to evacuate the area. Coastline towns along the Iberian Peninsula were flooded.

“I have never seen anything like it,” one resident of the seaside town of Figueira da Foz told a local television station, according to Britain’s Sunday Express. “The town seemed to be in a state of war, with cars smashed by fallen trees. People were very worried.”


Leslie caused a lot of tree damage in the Portuguese seaside town of Figueira da Foz. (Carlos Costa/AFP/Getty Images) (CARLOS COSTA)

A restaurant in the Portuguese town of Praia do Pedrogao was destroyed in the storm. (Paulo Cunha/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock) (PAULO CUNHA/EPA-EFE/REX)

In Lisbon, people huddled inside their homes. After the storm passed, trees and power lines blocked sidewalks. Even Portugal’s main highway was temporarily blocked by fallen trees.


Tree limbs litter a street in Lisbon's Benfica neigborhood. (Rafael Marchante/Reuters) (RAFAEL MARCHANTE)

This is how the Lisbon coastline looked hours before Leslie made landfall. (Patricia de Melo/AFP/Getty Images) (PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA)

It’s unusual for a hurricane or cyclone to hit Europe. According to our colleagues at the Capital Weather Gang, a hurricane hasn’t hit the continent since the 1842 Spain hurricane. In 2005, one other named tropical system, Vince, made landfall on the Iberian Peninsula.

Meteorologists attribute Leslie to warmer-than-average sea-surface temperatures off Portugal’s coast.