Crews in Cuba worked to restore power to millions of people on Wednesday after Hurricane Ian brought high winds and dangerous storm surges to the western region, causing blackouts across the island.
Ian, a Category 3 hurricane, made landfall southwest of La Coloma in Pinar del Río province early Tuesday, knocking out power across Cuba.
The powerful storm was expected to drop up to 16 inches of rain and trigger landslides and flash floods in the western region, prompting evacuation orders for thousands of residents.
Images from state media CubePad show flooded fields and uprooted trees in the town of San Juan y Martinez in Pinar del Rio after the storm advanced.
Thousands of Cubans were expelled
Life-threatening conditions caused by Hurricane Ian in Cuba prompted authorities to evacuate more than 38,000 residents from their homes in Pinar del Rio province, state news channel Telebinar reported.
Adriana Rivera, who lives in Spain, told CNN that she has not been able to contact her family in Pinar del Rio since Tuesday morning.
“They didn’t expect the hurricane to be this strong,” Rivera said. “I hope they’re okay. The uncertainty is killing me.”
When Rivera last spoke to his family, including his mother, sister, cousin and nephews, they said they were taking shelter on the second floor of their home as the first floor was flooded. One of his sons-in-law also recorded a video of the flooded house.
Pinar del Rio resident Melin Suarez told Reuters the storm made it the darkest night of her life.
“We almost lost the roof of our house,” Suarez said. “My daughter, my husband and I tied it to a rope to keep it from flying away.”
Pinar del Rio, known for growing Cuba’s rich tobacco, has been hit by falling fences and the destruction of the Robaina tobacco farm, according to photos released by state media.
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