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Hurricane Leslie has lurked off the coast of the Atlantic for several weeks now, acquiring its “zombie” moniker for surviving on warm waters and moisture from regional weather since Sept. 23. Despite being bounced around by numerous weather systems, the tropical storm has hovered well away from land up until this past week. Now, all of that may change as a shift in weather has finally sent Leslie eastward, bound for the western shores of Portugal and the Iberian peninsula.

The National Hurricane Center, which monitors storms in the Atlantic basin, announced Friday evening that Hurricane Leslie is expected to bring “near hurricane-force winds” to Portugal and portions of western Spain, reporting that the storm was “rapidly heading east-northeastward” toward land. Saturday morning follow-up posts remarked, “Leslie heading for the Iberian peninsula in a hurry” and “defiant Leslie still a hurricane.” According to AccuWeather, the cities likely to be most affected will be from Lisbon to Lagos and Faro, Portugal, and from Salamanca and the northern suburbs of Madrid, Spain, to A Coruña and Bilbao.

Leslie is the first tropical storm to target the Iberian Peninsula with such intensity since Vince in 2005, which briefly reached hurricane status near the Azores before winding down to end up as a tropical depression closer to the mainland near Huelva, Spain.

Lingering moisture and weather disruption from Hurricane Michael, on the other side of the Atlantic, is crossing the ocean as well, and could send some rainfall into northern Portugal and western Spain on Monday.

As of publish time, TAP Air Portugal is the only airline to have released travel waivers for Madeira Island, off the southwestern coast of Portugal:

TAP Air Portugal

    • Travel dates: October 13-15, 2018
    • Airports affected: Funchal (FNC), Porto Santo (PXO)
    • Must have bought your ticket by October 12
    • Rebook travel anytime up to October 22
    • You can’t change your origin or destination city. Must rebook in same cabin.
    • Additional information here.

easyJet

While easyJet hasn’t formally announced any flight cancellations or delays, the airline has issued an announcement, stating, “Hurricane Leslie is expected to move across the Atlantic Ocean this weekend and high winds may affect the Canaries and also the routes that our aircraft fly to and from the islands. We currently plan to operate our flights to and from airports in the Canary Islands as planned and we are monitoring the weather conditions closely whilst looking to minimise any impact to flights as much as possible.”

TPG will continue to monitor potential waiver updates from all major carriers.

Featured photo by Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images.

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