Storm Elsa hits Cuba, Havana braces for heavy rain

(Havana) Havana and its residents prepare Monday for the expected heavy rains with the passing of the tropical storm Elsathat made landfall in the west of the island after killing three people in the Caribbean over the weekend.




Carlos Batista
France media agency

Businesses in the capital were closed at midday, public transportation was suspended, and the movement of private vehicles, except for those for civil defense or relief, was also prohibited.

Some residents have housed their furniture, especially those who live on the ground floor or the Malecon, Havana’s famous seaside street at risk of submersion, according to pictures on TV and online.

After three people were killed in the Dominican Republic and Saint Lucia, Elsa It touched Cuba at 2 p.m. in Sinaga de Zapata National Park, in the Matanzas region (west), the US National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

He indicated that it was accompanied by winds of 95 km / h and a speed of 22 km / h in a northwesterly direction.

The tropical storm is expected to lose intensity as it crosses the island, which is estimated at about six hours, before reaching the Florida Straits. The rain will continue though.

100,000 people have been evacuated

As a precaution, more than 100,000 people, mainly in low-lying or coastal areas, have been evacuated to safety, a task complicated by the coronavirus pandemic, as Cuba faces a sharp rebound in the number of new cases.

Photo by Alexandre Mengini, Reuters

A worker closes the windows of a bar in Havana on July 3.

“protection against Elsa “It does not mean lowering your guard against COVID-19,” Prime Minister Manuel Marrero said Monday, according to the newscast.

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Cuba, which has been little affected by the disease, has seen the number of cases rise in recent weeks to a total of 207,322 cases, including 1,372 deaths for a population of 11.2 million.

According to experts from the National Institute of Meteorology of Cuba (Insmet), the storm is expected to resume the sea around 8 pm near the city of Santa Cruz in Mayapeque province.

Meteorologist Jose Rubera warned on Cuban television that the storm was “laden with very heavy rain” since it passed by sea from the east of the island to the province of Matanzas.

He also warned of the dangers of flooding as these rains will fall on soils already saturated with summer rains in the previous days.

Heading to the United States

After leaving Cuba at the end of the evening to enter the Straits of Florida, Elsa “It will pass near the Keys archipelago early Tuesday. Then it should approach or over parts of Florida’s west coast on Tuesday and Wednesday,” the NHC predicts.

Heading to the United StatesElsa It is usual for hurricanes passing through Cuba between 1he is June and November 30, the traditional hurricane season.

This prompted the two countries’ meteorological centers to cooperate and exchange information, despite diplomatic tensions between Washington and Havana, as the topic is considered a matter of national security.

the storm Elsa It has sparked concern in Surfside, Florida, as aid mounts amid the rubble of a building that partially collapsed last week, killing at least 24 people and missing 121.

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And the authorities chose to speed up the demolition of the rest of the building, which they fear would collapse in turn, so that it could be completed at night from Sunday to Monday, before the storm arrived.

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