Hurricane Ian Zeroing in on Western Cuba

Graphic from the National Hurricane Center

By Circles Robinson

HAVANA TIMES – As if food and medicine shortages and constant blackouts were not enough, now western Cuba is facing the imminent visit of Hurricane Ian, which is quickly strengthening.  While votes were still being counted in yesterday’s referendum on a new Family Code, civil defense authorities were scrambling to ready for the fast-approaching weather system.

While the province of Pinar del Rio, the Isle of Youth and possibly Artemisa are forecast to feel the brunt of the storm, tropical force winds are expected in Havana and coastal flooding is expected to begin early Tuesday on the south coast and could also threaten the north coast including Havana. Like the capital, Matanzas and Mayabeque are also on tropical storm alert.

One of the hardest things for the population in Cuba when a hurricane comes knocking is the lack of wood to board up windows in peoples’ homes and small businesses.  The military and foreign partners do have such for their hotels, but the general population even has trouble obtaining fibered tape to help prevent their windows from shattering. Buying a piece of plywood in Havana is virtually impossible and has been that way for decades.

Agriculture can be severely affected by such a storm.  In the areas forecast to be the most affected, farmers rush to harvest what they can.  However, September is usually a good month for planting crops to be harvested at the end of the year and the small plants will be vulnerable.    

At 8 AM local time on Monday the center of Ian was located 90 miles west-southwest from Grand Cayman Island and 275 miles from the far western tip of Cuba. The storm currently has maximum sustained winds of 75 mph (120 kph) and rising.  The center is moving northwest at 14 mph (22 kph) the minimum central pressure has dropped to 981 millibars.

After Cuba, the east coast of Florida including the Tampa Bay area could face a landing or very near passing of the powerful Ian. The area is now on a Hurricane Watch.

We will bring you a new report this afternoon.

Read more from Cuba here on Havana Times

One thought on “Hurricane Ian Zeroing in on Western Cuba

  • Given the timing and likely location of where the eye of the hurricane will hit Cuba, the the tobacco crop on the ground in western Cuba will take the brunt of the agricultural damage. Of course, keeping people safe is and should be the priority but as a person who frequently enjoys a good Cuban cigar…

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