HomeWorldCuba Prepares Evacuations as Strengthening of TS Ian Approaches

Cuba Prepares Evacuations as Strengthening of TS Ian Approaches


HAVANA (AP) — Cuban authorities have suspended classes in Pinar del Río province and said evacuations will begin Monday as Tropical Storm Ian is expected to become a hurricane before reaching western Cuba. the island on its way to Florida.

A hurricane warning was in effect for Grand Cayman and the Cuban provinces of Isla de Juventud, Pinar del Río and Artemisa. The US National Hurricane Center said Ian should reach the westernmost part of Cuba late Monday or early Tuesday, striking near the country’s most famous tobacco fields. It could become a major hurricane on Tuesday.

Cuban state media outlet Granma said authorities would begin evacuating people from vulnerable areas on Monday morning in the western province of Pinar del Río. Classes there have been suspended.

As of 11 p.m. EDT Sunday, Ian was moving northwest at 13 mph (20 kph), about 140 miles (225 kilometers) south of Grand Cayman, according to the center. It had maximum sustained winds of 65 mph (100 kph).

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Meanwhile, Floridians kept a wary eye on Ian as he made his way ominously through the Caribbean on his way to the state.

Governor Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency throughout Florida and urged residents to prepare for the storm that will hit large swathes of the state with heavy rain, high winds and sea level rise.

Forecasters still aren’t sure where exactly Ian might make landfall, with current models plotting the path toward Florida’s west coast or Panhandle regions, he said.

“We will continue to monitor the path of this storm. But it’s really important to emphasize the degree of uncertainty that still exists,” DeSantis said at a news conference on Sunday, warning that “even if you’re not necessarily in the eye of the storm’s path, there are going to be fairly wide impacts across the state.” ”.

Flash and urban flooding is possible in the Florida Keys and the Florida Panhandle through the middle of the week, and then heavy rains are possible in North Florida, the Florida Panhandle, and the southeastern United States. United later this week.

The agency placed a tropical storm watch over the lower Florida Keys on Sunday night and has advised Floridians to have hurricane plans and monitor updates on the storm’s track.

President Joe Biden also declared an emergency, authorizing the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, to coordinate disaster relief and provide assistance to protect lives and property. The president postponed a scheduled Sept. 27 trip to Florida because of the storm.

John Cangialosi, a senior hurricane specialist at the Miami-based center, said in an interview Sunday that it’s unclear exactly where Ian will hit the hardest in Florida. Residents should begin preparations, including gathering supplies for potential power outages, he said.

“It’s a hard thing to say, stay tuned, but that’s the right message right now,” Cangialosi said. “But for those in Florida, it’s still time to prepare. I’m not telling you to close the blinds or do anything like that yet, but it’s still time to get your supplies.”

Local media in Florida have reported a consumer rush for water, generators and other supplies in some areas where residents moved to stock up on goods ahead of the storm.

Associated Press writer Julie Walker contributed to this report from New York.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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