100,000 people are evacuated from Cuba as hurricane Elsa hits

By Rumi Samuel Published on July 06, 2021
100,000 people are evacuated from Cuba as hurricane Elsa hits

Tropical storm Elsa brought drenching rain and strong winds to Cuba but left the island without major damage. The US National Hurricane Centre reported the storm was now making its way toward the Florida Keys.

Elsa has left a trail of destruction through the Caribbean, claiming at least three lives, and is expected to gain strength as it emerged off the coast of western Cuba earlier today.

Over 100,000 people were evacuated from coastal or low-lying areas as the storm cut through the island, with Cuba's meteorological institute, Insmet, reporting winds of up to 100 kilometres an hour.

States of alarm had been sounded in the provinces of Havana, Mayabeque, and Artemisa as thousands were evacuated from their homes - efforts complicated by the pandemic as Cuba endured its worst chapter of it yet.

"Protecting ourselves against Elsa cannot mean letting our guard down against Covid," Prime Minister Manuel Marrero said.

Shops closed in Havana, and driving was restricted to civil defence vehicles.

The storm was expected to dump up to 38cm of rain in parts of the island, the US National Hurricane Centre said.

"This will result in significant flash flooding and mudslides," it said, with Inset warning that effects from the storm could continue in the coming days.

By 9 pm last night, Storm Elsa was headed out toward the Gulf of Mexico, authorities said.

Florida appeared set to avoid the worst of the storm as forecasters shifted its likely path westward, suggesting the state's southwest coast will experience a glancing blow rather than the direct hit earlier expected.
The storm is expected to approach the Florida Keys - the archipelago at the state's southern tip - sometime today on its journey northward.

Rumi Samuel

Rumi Samuel

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