By Circles Robinson
HAVANA TIMES – By 11:00 a.m. local time (ET) the eye of hurricane Ian had left Cuban territory from north-central, Pinar del Río, the hardest his province. Meanwhile, the fierce winds and their destruction continues. In the capital thus far the rains and winds have been moderate according to local authorities.
The center of Hurricane Ian has left Cuban territory but the strong winds and rains will continue for the coming hours. In the capital we have spoken with sources in Altahabana, Vedado, Habana del Este and Regla. Tropical Storm strength winds have thus far been felt and the rain has been moderate.
Communication with our collaborators in Pinar del Rio, Pedro Pablo Morejón and Fabiana del Valle has not yet been possible, most likely because of a blackout and Internet being unavailable. We await to hear from them.
We did speak with a source in rural Pinar del Rio near Viñales who lamented the affects on farms in the area. and especially the considerable destruction of the crops. Virtually all types of bananas on the ground, rice lost, fields filled with water and the strong winds continues. They reported being without electricity since last night.
Infrastructure at the farm of Cuba’s world famous tobacco grower Alejandro Robaina suffered severe or total damage. Other farms in this prize growing region were most likely also affected.
Time will tell
Writing about the effects of a hurricane is an exercise in underestimating while it is still causing damage. The effects on home and building infrastructure, the crop damage in the fields and storage facilities will become apparent in the coming days.
The government website Cubadebate has a minute-to-minute report where people check in with information from their areas. Such reports while important are scattered and do not give the big picture or on the ground details in many places, especially those without electricity or Internet connections.
As the hurricane moves north towards the west coast of Florida, we will have the damage report from Cuba as it becomes available from Civil Defense and local and national authorities.
At 11 a.m. the center of the powerful Ian currently was located just off the Cuban coast of Pinar del Rio with 115 mph maximum sustained winds and higher gusts. It is moving at 10 mph on a north and slightly east track headed for the west coast of Florida as a dangerous major hurricane where it is expected to reach land by Wednesday night.