Energy company crews in Cuba work to restore the power of thousands of households in the country this Wednesday after the strong winds of Hurricane Ian wreaked havoc on the country’s western region. The nation is now experiencing a widespread blackout after the hurricane made landfall in the country.
The Category 3 storm hit the Pinar del Rio province on Tuesday, particularly in the southwestern part of La Coloma. According to weather bureaus, Hurricane Ian would deliver around 16 inches of rain, leading to dangerous storm surges, mudslides, and flash floods. The warnings issued by authorities caused communities to flee from their residences and to evacuation centers.
In the aftermath of the hurricane, Cubans witnessed the damage caused by it, with trees uprooted from the ground, areas submerged in water, and a nation without power. Officials said electricity grids would function again and deliver power to over 11 million people within the week.
Meanwhile, the National Electric System turned off its power to safeguard people. A submerged community is prone to electrocutions, deaths, and other related damage or fatalities. But, according to the management of the state-run power firm, they will most likely restart the grid’s power once the water recedes and the weather improves.
Blackouts are already common in the country. Due to supply cutoffs and shortages in fuel and other resources, power grids were regularly committing to blackouts.
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Cubans have evacuated
Hurricane Ian alerted many authorities, and so the order was to proceed with mass evacuation. More than 38,000 residents were forced to evacuate, especially those living in the Pinar del Rio Province. Other neighboring regions were also advised to seek refuge in evacuation centers to prepare for the hurricane. Several individuals whose families are staying in the Pinal del Rio province said that communication is difficult.
Adriana Rivera, who is living in Spain, shared that she could not get ahold of her family. They were among the individuals affected by Hurricane Ian in Pinar del Rio. According to Rivera, she last contacted her family amid Hurricane Ian’s onslaught when she was informed that her mother, sister, cousin, and nephew had to proceed to the house’s second floor because of the flooding.
“They didn’t expect the hurricane to be this strong. I hope they’re okay. The uncertainty is killing me,” she said.
Meanwhile, for Mayelin Suarez, who experienced the wrath of Hurricane Ian, the event was fearful.
“We almost lost the roof of our house. My daughter, my husband and I tied it down with a rope to keep it from flying away,” Suarez said.
Pinar del Rio, more than a home to millions of residents, is the region where the famed tobacco of Cuba is grown. After the hurricane, the Cuban state media received photographs showing the grave damage Hurricane Ian caused to the tobacco farms in the region.
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Hurricane Ian hurls towards Florida
The storm is not yet finished. Following Cuba, it is headed towards Florida and is strengthening into a Category 5 storm, sending waves of alarm and worry among residents and authorities. Weather bureaus have raised the alarm today, advising over 2.5 million residents to prepare for the worst.
Florida Division of Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie said, “I implore, I urge everyone that is in an evacuation zone that has been asked to evacuate – the time is now. You must evacuate now. There will be a time when it will not be safe to travel the roads.”
“There will come a point in time when local public safety officials will not be able to respond to your cry for help. You may be left to fend for yourself,” he added.
Meanwhile, Governor Ron DeSantis sent the same warning to millions of Floridians and said, “This is going to be a lot of impacts that will be felt far and wide throughout the state of Florida. As the storm moves in, you’re going to potentially have (evacuation) directives issued from folks in the interior of our state or even the east coast of the state for low-lying areas that absolutely could end up flooding.”
Photo Credit: Ramon Espinose