World

Hurricane Ian strikes Cuba, Florida braces for winds, floods


HAVANA: Storm Ian tore through western Cuba like a major hurricane on Tuesday, blacking out the entire country and leaving 11 million people without power, before entering a collision with the Florida over the warm waters of the Gulf amid forecasts that it will strengthen into a catastrophic Category 4 hurricane.
Ian landed in Cuba’s Pinar del Rio province, where officials set up 55 shelters, evacuated 50,000 people and took steps to protect crops in the country’s main tobacco-growing region. The US National Hurricane Center said Cuba was experiencing “significant wind and storm surge effects” when the storm hit with top sustained winds of 125 mph (205 kmh).
Ian is expected to be even stronger in the warm Gulf of Mexico, reaching peak winds of 130 mph (209 km/h) near Florida’s southwest coast, where 2.5 million people were ordered to evacuate .
Tropical storm winds are forecast to pass over the southern peninsula late Tuesday, reaching hurricane strength on Wednesday – when the eye of the storm is predicted to make landfall. With tropical storm winds extending 140 miles (225 km) from the center of Ian, damage is expected over a large area of ​​Florida.
It remains unclear exactly where Ian will land. Its precise tracking can determine the severity of high tides for Tampa Bay, said hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy of the University of Miami. McNoldy said making landfall south of the bay could make the impact “much less severe”.
Gil Gonzalez went up to his window on Tuesday and prepared sandbags to protect his Tampa home. He and his wife stocked up on bottled water and packed flashlights, cell phone batteries and stoves before evacuating.
“All of our precious possessions, we stored them upstairs in a friend’s house and nearby, and we filled the car up,” Gonzalez said on the way out.
Florida government Ron DeSantis urges people to prepare for prolonged power outages, and get out of the storm’s potential path.
“It’s a big storm, it’s going to push up a lot of water when it comes in,” DeSantis told a news conference in Sarasota, a coastal city of 57,000 people could be affected. “And you’re going to end up with really big high tides and you’re going to end up with really big floods. And this is the kind of life-threatening storm surge.”
He said about 30,000 utility workers have been deployed around the state but it could take days before they can safely reach some of the downed power lines.
“This is the real deal,” DeSantis said. “It was a big, big storm.”
DeSantis said nearly 100 shelters were open Tuesday afternoon, with more expected. He said most buildings in Florida are sturdy enough to withstand the wind, but the 2.5 million people who have been notified to evacuate face the greatest risk from flooding.
Hundreds of residents have been evacuated from several nursing homes in the Tampa area, where hospitals are also moving some patients. Airports in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Key West are closed. Busch Gardens in Tampa closed before the storm, while several theme parks in the Orlando area, including Disney World and Sea World, are scheduled to close Wednesday and Thursday.
NASA delivered its lunar rocket from the launch pad to the Kennedy Space Center hangar, delaying the test flight by several weeks.
Ian’s forward movement is expected to slow down over the Gulf, allowing the storm to grow wider and stronger. The storm warning expanded Tuesday to cover about 220 miles (350 km) of Florida’s west coast. The area includes Fort Myers as well as Tampa and St.Petersburg, which could experience the first major hurricane since 1921.
Forecasters say storm surge could reach 3.6 meters if peaked at high tide. Precipitation near the landing site could reach 18 inches (46 cm). They also reported a threat of isolated tornadoes triggered by the storm’s approach across Florida.
“It was a monster and then the confusion of the road,” said Renee Correa, who traveled inland to Orlando from the Tampa area with her daughter and Chihuahua. “Tampa was lucky for 100 years, but it’s a bit scary now.”
Kelly Johnson was about to crouch down at her house two blocks from the beach in Dunedin, west of Tampa. She said she would escape to the second floor if the sea level rose inland, and had a generator if the power went out.
“I am Floridian, and we know how to deal with hurricanes,” Johnson said. “This is part of living in paradise – knowing that these storms come your way from time to time.”
Forecasters warned the storm would cover a large area as it sweeps across Florida in anticipation of a northerly direction. Flash flooding is possible across the state, and parts of Florida’s east coast face a potential storm surge threat as the Ian Strip approaches the Atlantic Ocean. Parts of Georgia and South Carolina could also see extended torrential downpours over the weekend.
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency on Tuesday, ordering 500 National Guard troops to be ready to respond as needed.
As the center of the storm moved into the Gulf, a scene of devastation unfolded in Cuba’s world-famous tobacco belt. The owner of top cigar maker Finca Robaina has posted photos on social media of wooden and thatched roofs smashed to the ground, greenhouses in ruins and overturned carriages.
“It was the end of the world, a real disaster,” wrote Hirochi Robaina, grandson of the operation’s founder.
Local government station TelePinar reported heavy damage at the main hospital in the city of Pinar del Rio, posting pictures of collapsed ceilings and fallen trees. No deaths have been reported.
At the White House, the President Joe Biden said his administration is sending hundreds of Federal Emergency Management Agency employees to Florida and seeking to assure mayors of the hurricane’s path that Washington will meet their needs. He urged residents to heed the orders of local officials.
“Your safety is more important than anything,” he said.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Biden spoke Tuesday night with DeSantis about federal steps to help Florida prepare for the storm and the two are committed to working closely.
Ian landed in Cuba’s Pinar del Rio province, where officials set up 55 shelters, evacuated 50,000 people and took steps to protect crops in the country’s main tobacco-growing region. The US National Hurricane Center said Cuba was experiencing “significant wind and storm surge effects” when the storm hit with top sustained winds of 125 mph (205 kmh).
Ian is expected to be even stronger in the warm Gulf of Mexico, reaching peak winds of 130 mph (209 km/h) near Florida’s southwest coast, where 2.5 million people were ordered to evacuate .
Tropical storm winds are forecast to pass over the southern peninsula late Tuesday, reaching hurricane strength on Wednesday – when the eye of the storm is predicted to make landfall. With tropical storm winds extending 140 miles (225 km) from the center of Ian, damage is expected over a large area of ​​Florida.
It remains unclear exactly where Ian will land. Its precise tracking can determine the severity of high tides for Tampa Bay, said hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy of the University of Miami. McNoldy said making landfall south of the bay could make the impact “much less severe”.
Gil Gonzalez went up to his window on Tuesday and prepared sandbags to protect his Tampa home. He and his wife stocked up on bottled water and packed flashlights, cell phone batteries and stoves before evacuating.
“All of our precious possessions, we stored them upstairs in a friend’s house and nearby, and we filled the car up,” Gonzalez said on the way out.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis urged people to prepare for prolonged power outages and get out of the path of the storm.
DeSantis told a news conference in Sarasota, a coastal city of 57,000 people that could be affected by it would push a lot of water in during a news conference in Sarasota. with really significant high tides and you’ll end up with really significant floods. And this is the kind of life-threatening high tide.”
He said about 30,000 utility workers have been deployed around the state but it could take days before they can safely reach some of the downed power lines.
“This is the real deal,” DeSantis said. “It was a big, big storm.”
DeSantis said nearly 100 shelters were open Tuesday afternoon, with more expected. He said most buildings in Florida are sturdy enough to withstand the wind, but the 2.5 million people who have been notified to evacuate face the greatest risk from flooding.
Hundreds of residents have been evacuated from several nursing homes in the Tampa area, where hospitals are also moving some patients. Airports in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Key West are closed. Busch Gardens in Tampa closed before the storm, while several theme parks in the Orlando area, including Disney World and Sea World, are scheduled to close Wednesday and Thursday.
NASA delivered its lunar rocket from the launch pad to the Kennedy Space Center hangar, delaying the test flight by several weeks.
Ian’s forward movement is expected to slow down over the Gulf, allowing the storm to grow wider and stronger. The storm warning expanded Tuesday to cover about 220 miles (350 km) of Florida’s west coast. The area includes Fort Myers as well as Tampa and St.Petersburg, which could experience the first major hurricane since 1921.
Forecasters say storm surge could reach 3.6 meters if peaked at high tide. Precipitation near the landing site could reach 18 inches (46 cm). They also reported a threat of isolated tornadoes triggered by the storm’s approach across Florida.
“It was a monster and then there was confusion about the route,” said Renee Correa, who traveled inland Orlando from the Tampa area with her daughter and Chihuahua. “Tampa was lucky for 100 years, but it’s a bit scary now.”
Kelly Johnson is working out at her home, two blocks from the beach in Dunedin, west of Tampa. She said she would escape to the second floor if the sea level rose inland, and had a generator if the power went out.
“I am Floridian, and we know how to deal with hurricanes,” Johnson said. “This is part of living in paradise – knowing that these storms come your way from time to time.”
Forecasters warned the storm would cover a large area as it sweeps across Florida in anticipation of a northerly direction. Flash flooding is possible across the state, and parts of Florida’s east coast face a potential storm surge threat as the Ian Strip approaches the Atlantic Ocean. Parts of Georgia and South Carolina could also see extended torrential downpours over the weekend.
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency on Tuesday, ordering 500 National Guard troops to be ready to respond as needed.
As the center of the storm moved into the Gulf, a scene of devastation unfolded in Cuba’s world-famous tobacco belt. The owner of top cigar maker Finca Robaina has posted photos on social media of wooden and thatched roofs smashed to the ground, greenhouses in ruins and overturned carriages.
“It was the end of the world, a real disaster,” wrote Hirochi Robaina, grandson of the operation’s founder.
Local government station TelePinar reported heavy damage at the main hospital in the city of Pinar del Rio, posting pictures of collapsed ceilings and fallen trees. No deaths have been reported.
At the White House, President Joe Biden said his administration is sending hundreds of Federal Emergency Management Agency employees to Florida and seeking to assure mayors in the path of the storm that Washington will respond. their needs. He urged residents to heed the orders of local officials.
“Your safety is more important than anything,” he said.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Biden spoke Tuesday night with DeSantis about federal steps to help Florida prepare for the storm and the two are committed to working closely.





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