27 people hurt as weakened hurricane Leslie slams into Portugal

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Hurricane Leslie churned across the Atlantic Ocean on Saturday heading toward Portugal and Spain, with forecasters saying the storm will bring heavy rain, high winds and unsafe surf to western parts of the Iberian Peninsula. Winds are expected to be near hurricane force in Portugal.

Some weakening is forecast during the next day or so, but Leslie is expected to transition into a powerful post-tropical cyclone by Saturday night, October 13.

MUCH of Spain is on full alert as Hurricane Leslie is expected to track across the county in a northeasterly direction either as a storm or tropical depression.

Neighbouring Spain was also preparing itself for what was dubbed a "zombie" hurricane, as it first formed on Sep 23 and has been meandering through the waters of the Atlantic Ocean for weeks.

More than 300,000 homes lost electricity as the storm passed, said Belo Costa, commander at the Civil Protection Agency.

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But state broadcaster RTP says wind speeds reached 170 kph (105 mph) in the coastal town of Figueira da Foz, 200 kilometers (125 miles) north of Lisbon.

The exact trajectory of the hurricane, however, remains uncertain due to the presence of another storm approaching the region from the north, Portugal's meteorological institute said.

Civil defence officials said 27 people suffered minor injuries, with localised flooding, hundreds of trees uprooted and a number of flights cancelled.

Throughout the weekend, Leslie's ocean swells were also expected to wrack Madeira, the Azores and the Canary Islands.

The storm is thought to be the most powerful to hit Portugal since 1842.

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