Hurricane ‘Ian’ hits Cuba and heads for Florida with category 3 | International

the mighty hurricane Ian, category 3 on the Saffir-Simpson scale, with winds of up to 200 kilometers per hour and higher gusts, crossed the island from south to north during the early hours of Tuesday at a point on the westernmost tip of the island, in the province of Pinar de Río, causing severe damage and flooding. The cyclone made landfall at 4:30 in the morning in the small town of La Coloma and went out to sea at 8 in the morning through Puerto Esperanza, in the municipality of Viñales, where it is raining intensely at this time and the winds are very strong. powerful. Its north course directs it to the coast of Florida, where the alarm is maximum.

The extensive eye of the hurricane, a calm area around which the strongest winds are found, passed through the city of Pinar de Río around 6 a.m. on Tuesday, and the apparent stillness remained for just over an hour. . Before and after came the horror, which was portrayed like this by Pinar del Río writer Nelson Simón: “We are in the dark. The noise and the buffeting of the wind are hellish. It has stopped raining a while ago. The wind is sustained and from time to time increases its intensity. It is as if everything were shaken… When the wind picks up, one closes one’s eyes and squeezes one’s eyelids as if wanting to hold onto what surrounds us”. A journalist from the city described it this way: “The wind is roaring outside, you can feel things flying. We don’t know what we’ll see when we hit the streets tomorrow.”

Despite the departure of Ian of Cuban territory, the deterioration of the weather in the western provinces will continue throughout the day, including the capital, where it rained in the morning and winds with tropical storm force were registered, with gusts that could exceed 70 kilometers per hour. Fears that the hurricane could fully affect Havana, where many buildings and houses are in poor condition, seem to have passed.

In the affected areas, including the capital, electricity service has been cut off as a preventive measure, and thousands of people living in low-lying areas have been evacuated to safe places. In Pinar del Río, more than 50,000 Cubans have been transferred to state centers or relocated to the homes of family and friends.

A man moves a piece of roof on a street in Consolación del Sur (Cuba), this Tuesday, after the passage of the hurricane.ADALBERTO ROQUE (AFP)

It is still early to know what damage it will leave Ian in Cuba. The authorities have not yet reported the possible losses, but there are reports of damage to agriculture and in some tobacco harvesting areas such as San Juan and Martínez, in Pinar del Río, where there have been heavy floods, in addition to damage to homes. and state centers, and many downed trees and power poles.

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Hurricane-force winds will continue to influence Pinar del Río until Tuesday afternoon, while tropical storm winds, further from the eye of the hurricane, which will be between 70 and 85 kilometers per hour, will influence Artemisa, Mayabeque and La Havana, persisting over the Isle of Youth until the end of the morning. Throughout the country’s accident, teaching activities have been canceled and public transport has been suspended, and people are asked not to leave their homes. There are no reports of deaths or injuries.

The Cuban Institute of Meteorology has reported severe flooding in some areas of Pinar del Río, especially in the Gulf of Guanahacabibes, and moderate in other provinces such as Artemisa and Mayabeque. The cyclonic alarm remains throughout western Cuba. Ian It is the fourth hurricane of this cyclonic season and the first to reach Cuban territory this year. In recent decades, destructive hurricanes have passed through Pinar del Río, such as the Gustav and the ike.

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