Steph Deschamps / September 27, 2022
Hurricane Ian, which became a major hurricane category 3 on Tuesday, hit the west coast of Cuba, announced the Cuban Meteorological Institute, while in the United States, Florida, is preparing to be affected in turn.
Hurricane Ian is now in Cuban territory,” said a meteorologist from the Institute on state television. The hurricane hit the town of La Coloma, a fishing village in the province of Pinar del Rio, on the west coast of Cuba, he said.
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) in the United States had announced in its bulletin of 02:30 (08:30 in Brussels) that Ian had strengthened into “major hurricane” of category 3 on the Saffir-Simpson scale that goes up to 5.
The authorities of the province of Pinar del Rio said that “all the electrical networks have been cut” as a precaution, according to the official media Cubadebate.
The winds began knocking down tree branches and debris was being blown into the streets and backyards of homes by the violent gusts, according to images broadcast on state television.
“The noise is deafening because of the passage of the winds,” said a television reporter who maintained an uninterrupted news program.
The rains accompanied by wind have already begun to fall on the west of the largest island of the Caribbean, noted AFP.
On Monday morning, the Cuban Civil Defense issued a “cyclonic alert” for the six westernmost provinces of the island: Pinar del Rio, Artemisa, Havana, Mayabeque, Cienfuegos and Juventud Island, 340 km south of the capital. The waves reached between five and seven meters in height.
The authorities evacuated some 50,000 people in Pinar del Rio, including 6,000 in shelters and the others with relatives or friends.
In the capital, where 2.1 million people live, long lines formed to access some food shops.
The fishermen of Havana sheltered their boats before taking refuge in their homes, and some residents were reinforcing their wooden houses.
In addition, a state of emergency has been declared throughout Florida and authorities are increasing preparations.