Hurricane Ian made landfall in western Cuba early Tuesday, with the storm sparking mass evacuations and fears it will bring widespread destruction as it makes its way to the US state of Florida.
“Ian is already over Cuban territory,” a forecaster from the country’s Institute of Meteorology said in a special broadcast on state television. “The storm’s outer wall is on the coast of Pinar del Rio province.”
About 38,000 people had been evacuated from their homes in the province most affected by the storm, local authorities said.
The US National Hurricane Center (NHC) said Ian made landfall just southwest of the city of La Coloma at about 4:30 a.m. local time (0830 GMT).
The hurricane had maximum sustained winds of 125 miles (205 kilometers) per hour, the NHC said, making it a Category 3 storm on the Saffir-Simpson scale.
“Devastating wind damage is expected as Ian’s core moves through western Cuba this morning,” it added.
With the hurricane moving north, Florida’s west coast from Fort Myers to Tampa Bay was at greatest risk of “life-threatening” storm surges, the NHC said.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency in all 67 counties as officials rushed to prepare for the storm’s expected landing on Wednesday or Thursday.
Ian “will bring heavy rainfall, high winds, flash flooding, storm surge and isolated tornado activity along Florida’s Gulf Coast,” DeSantis said at a news conference in Tallahassee Monday.
He warned people to prepare for power outages.
“Even if the eye of the storm doesn’t hit your region, you’re going to have really significant wind. It’s going to knock down trees, it’s going to cause disruptions,” DeSantis said, warning of likely flooding.
The governor urged residents to stock up on food, water, medicine and fuel, and he called on 7,000 members of the National Guard to help with the effort.
Authorities in several Florida municipalities, including Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Tampa, have begun distributing free sandbags to residents to protect their homes from the risk of flooding.
Tampa International Airport said it would suspend operations at 5 p.m. local time (2100 GMT) on Tuesday.
US President Joe Biden approved emergency aid to 24 counties in Florida through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
NASA said it was rolling its massive moon rocket back to its storage hangar at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center because of the hurricane.
The Caribbean and parts of eastern Canada are still counting on the cost of powerful storm Fiona, which broke through last week and claimed several lives.
When it arrived in Canada, the storm picked up intense winds of 80 miles per hour, bringing torrential rains and waves of up to 40 feet (12 meters).
Three people are believed to have died when Fiona stormed into Canada’s Atlantic provinces as a post-tropical cyclone early Saturday.
Prince Edward Island authorities confirmed the death of one person, while officials in Newfoundland said they found the body of a 73-year-old woman believed to have been swept from her home. She was apparently hiding in her basement when the waves broke.
A third person has been reported missing in Nova Scotia – one of the worst affected provinces – and is believed to have been killed.
“The devastation is immense,” Nova Scotia Prime Minister Tim Houston told reporters. “The magnitude of the storm is unbelievable.”
In the town of Channel-Port aux Basques, on the southwestern tip of Newfoundland, storm surges have swept at least 20 homes into the sea.
About 200 residents had been evacuated before the storm hit.
“Some people have lost everything, and I mean everything,” Mayor Brian Button told CBC News.
Hurricane Ian strengthens to Category 3 storm before making landfall in Cuba, Florida
© 2022 AFP
Quote: Hurricane Ian hits Cuba as Category 3 storm (2022, September 27) retrieved September 27, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-09-hurricane-ian-cuba-category-storm.html
This document is copyrighted. Other than fair dealing for personal study or research, nothing may be reproduced without written permission. The content is provided for informational purposes only.