Cuba on Alert as Tropical Storm Elsa Approaches

The situation at 11 PM Saturday

The 11 PM ET graphic report from the National Hurricane Center

By Circles Robinson

HAVANA TIMES – Cuba’s civil defense preparations were stepped up on Saturday as Tropical Storm Elsa continues to race across the Caribbean Sea. Evacuation centers were being established in several eastern and central provinces. Some people in low lying vulnerable areas have already been taken to safer facilities.

Residents of Playa Florida, Camaguey were already being evactuaed. Photo: Yunier Soler / Cubadebate

Harvesting as much casava and other root crops, bananas and plantains, as possible was one large task in full swing on Saturday, once it became clear that there was little chance the storm would not cross the island. Heavy wind and rains could cause considerable losses if not harvested now, even if the crops were not fully developed.

Cuba has already been facing severe food shortages and any affects from the storm will only make things worse.

Intense harveting to avoid crop loss took place today in Holguin. Foto: Ahora.

At 11 PM Cuban time (ET) the center of the not so well-organized storm is currently at 175 miles east-southeast from Montego Bay, Jamaica and 205 miles southeast of Cabo Cruz, Granma, Cuba.  Its movement west-northwest has now slowed considerably to 17 mph from around 30 mph during much of Friday and Saturday.

Since there is no land between its current location and Cuba, weather expert Jose Rubiera told the nighttime government news show it is not impossible that Elsa picks up slightly greater intensity before reaching Cuban territory.

Our next report will be on Sunday morning around 11 AM Cuba time (ET) with the latest developments.

Keep up on Cuba here on Havana Times.