Hurricane Leslie Speeds Toward Portugal and Spain

After spending almost three weeks meandering around the Central Atlantic Ocean, Hurricane Leslie sped toward Portugal and Spain on Friday afternoon.  At 2:00 p.m. EDT on Friday the center of Hurricane Leslie was located at latitude 33.3°N and longitude 26.1°W which put it about 515 miles (830 km) west of Madeira, Island.  Leslie was moving toward the east-northeast at 33 m.p.h. (54 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 85 m.p.h. (135 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 100 m.p.h. (160 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 971 mb.

A Tropical Storm Warning was in effect for Madeira Island.

The circulation around Hurricane Leslie remained well organized.  A small circular eye was at the center of circulation.  A ring of strong thunderstorms surrounded the eye and the strongest winds were occurring in that ring of storms.  The ring of storms was thinner west of the eye.  Several bands of showers and thunderstorms north and east of the eye were revolving around the core of Hurricane Leslie.  Bands south and west of the center of circulation consisted mostly of showers and lower clouds.  Winds to hurricane force extended out about 70 miles (110 km) from the center of Hurricane Leslie.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out about 230 miles (370 km) from the center of circulation.  Much of the stronger winds were occurring in the southern half of the circulation.

Hurricane Leslie will be moving through an environment unfavorable for a hurricane.  Leslie is currently over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 25°C, but it will move over cooler water during the next 24 to 36 hours.  An upper level trough south of Iceland is producing strong westerly winds which are blowing toward the top of Hurricane Leslie.  Those winds will cause significant vertical wind shear, but Hurricane Leslie will move south of the strongest winds.  A combination of cooler water and strong vertical wind shear will cause Hurricane Leslie to make a transition to a strong extratropical cyclone during the next day or so.

The upper level trough south of Iceland will steer Hurricane Leslie quickly toward the east-northeast.  On its anticipated track Hurricane Leslie will approach southern Portugal on Sunday morning.  Leslie will likely be a strong extratropical cyclone at that time.  Leslie will bring strong winds and heavy rain to parts of Portugal and Spain during the weekend.  Heavy rain could cause flash floods in some locations.