Tropical storm Idalia hit the western tip of Cuba on Monday night (28). The incident occurred shortly before the storm became a Category 1 hurricane early Tuesday morning. The information was given by the Institute of Meteorology of Cuba (Insmet).
According to the forecast of Cuban meteorologist José Rubiera, the drop in atmospheric pressure increased the wind speed, causing the tropical cyclone to intensify. Hurricane Idalia is heading north towards Florida, where experts say it could reach a Category 3 (out of 5) on the Saffir-Simpson scale. It is becoming “extremely dangerous,” according to the National Hurricane Center in Florida.
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Among the most affected areas in Cuba are Pinar del Rio, in the west of the country, where almost 80% of the territory was left without electricity. However, the municipality of Guane, in the province of Pinar del Río, remains without communication due to the flooding of the river. According to Radio Guamá, several residents said that this is the fastest flood they have seen in the last ten years.
In addition, significant damage was recorded on Isla de la Juventud and Artemisa, which are in a state of Cyclonic Alarm, the third of four chronological phases according to Cuban categorization.
In Havana, the country’s capital, nearly 48,000 users were left without electricity. Meanwhile, a building has collapsed in downtown Havana. To date, no deaths have been recorded.
In the west and southwest of Cuba, there was severe flooding from the sea, which caused water to enter some low-lying areas. Thousands of people were evacuated as a precautionary measure.
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There is currently no initial record of the total number of collapsed homes. Although several have been reported through unofficial media and social media. On the other hand, the damage to agriculture still needs to be assessed. Pinar del Río is one of the tobacco producing provinces, one of the main export products of the Cuban countryside.
According to the Cuban Institute of Meteorology (Insmet), although Idalia is moving away from the island, the state of climatological alert is maintained, as there is still a “high probability of heavy rain” in the next few hours.
Editing: Rodrigo Chagas