Hurricane Ian rips through Cuba, within sight of Florida According to Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Tropical Storm Ian is seen near the coast of Cuba in this satellite image taken September 25, 2022. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) / Handout via REUTERS / File Photo

By Dave Sherwood

HAVANA (Reuters) – Hurricane Ian made landfall in western Cuba on Tuesday, forcing evacuations, cutting power to nearly 1 million people and tearing roofs off roofs as it moved north toward Florida, where residents were anxiously waiting. wait for the big storm.

The US National Hurricane Center (NHC) said the Category 3 storm approached Cuba’s northern coast in Pinar del Rio province mid-morning Tuesday morning, with maximum sustained winds of 125 mph. 200 kilometers per hour).

Mayelin Suarez, a Pinar del Rio resident selling ice cream in the provincial capital, was still shaken Tuesday morning after a night she called the “darkest night of her life”.

“We almost lost the roof,” Suarez told Reuters. “My daughter, my husband and I tied her down with ropes to keep her from flying away.”

The storm made landfall in Cuba at a time of severe economic crisis. Even before the storm hit, hour-long power outages had become a daily occurrence across Cuba, and shortages of food, medicine and fuel could complicate efforts. recovered from Ian.

Ian is expected to strengthen further on Tuesday after cutting through Cuban farmland west of Havana and emerging in the Gulf of Southeast Mexico, reaching a degree of 4 before approaching the west coast. of Florida, the NHC said.

Hurricane Ian made landfall in Cuba’s Pinar del Rio province early Tuesday morning, prompting officials to cut power to all of the province’s 850,000 people as a precaution and evacuate 40,000 people from low-lying coastal areas. , as reported by the local media.

Metal roofs were renovated on homes and buildings throughout the region, where old and vulnerable housing and infrastructure littered streets and courtyards after the storm.

Palm trees fell along highways in the area making travel nearly impossible at the height of the storm.

The province of Pinar del Rio is a sparsely populated region but a leading producer of agricultural crops and tobacco. State media reported that farmers had secured 33,000 tonnes of tobacco from the pre-harvest harvest before the storm, although photos on social media showed widespread destruction of tobacco fields.

Rain and wind hit Havana early Tuesday, but the city, in tropical storm range and braced for a potential high tide late Tuesday, appeared unaffected by the winds. Ian’s strongest.

Felix Hernandez, 51, a night watchman at a winery in the Cuban capital, said it was normal business in the city. In the early morning, street vendors were selling avocados, and chicken stalls – a common phenomenon in Cuba – stretched for blocks.

“We were extremely lucky that Ian didn’t cross into Havana because more than half of the city had collapsed,” he said.


Hurricane Ian is expected to bring winds of up to 130 mph (209 km/h) and rain of up to 0.6 meters to the Tampa area, starting early Wednesday through Thursday night, the agency said. National Weather said.

The service warns people to move to safe shelters before the storm arrives, which can cause severe damage with some locations potentially uninhabitable for weeks or months.

Melissa Wolcott Martino, 78, a retired magazine editor in St.Petersburg, Florida, was hastily packing up valuables and holding her two cats and a rabbit early Tuesday morning last Tuesday. storm.

She and her husband and pets will evacuate as soon as they’ve finished packing up, heading for the high ground at her son’s home in northern Tampa.

“We’re right on the water, along a canal, so we know we’re just going to get flooded. This can be devastating.”

“I wasn’t particularly scared until I saw the path of the storm this morning,” she said. “Looks like the eye will come right to our house. Now I’m scared, so we leave.”

The last major hurricane to make landfall in Tampa was in 1921, when Hurricane Tarpon Springs made landfall in the area with winds of 120 mph, killing eight people.

Disney World closed some attractions ahead of the storm through Friday while the Tampa Bay Buccaneers football team moved to Miami, where they will practice this week ahead of Sunday’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Read more:

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