Violent rainstorms left at least 25 people dead on the Portuguese island of Madeira Saturday, Interior Minister Rui Pereira said.

The overnight strong winds and heavy rain caused flooding and landslides and brought down trees, particularly in the south of Madeira, a resort island located 560 miles southwest of the Portuguese mainland.

The island's airport was closed and Funchal mayor Miguel Albuquerque advised residents to stay at home.

Local authorities said flooding had partially destroyed bridges and homes, while electricity and phone links had also been cut.

Winds exceeding 60 mph, high seas and blocked roads had made things more difficult for emergency services, though weathermen said the worst was over.

Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates, expressing shock, promised support for the islanders and said that Pereira would fly to Madeira as soon as possible.