(Havana) Havana and its residents are preparing, Monday, for the expected heavy rains with the passage of a tropical storm Elsathat made landfall in the west of the island after three people were killed in the Caribbean over the weekend.
Businesses in the capital were closed at midday, public transportation was suspended, and the movement of private vehicles was prohibited except for civil defense or emergency services.
Some residents have housed their furniture, especially those living on the ground floor or on the Malecon, Havana’s famous seaside avenue, at risk of submersion, according to pictures broadcast on television and on the Internet.
After three people were killed in the Dominican Republic and Saint Lucia, Elsa It touched Cuba at 2 p.m. in the Sinaga de Zapata National Park in the Matanzas region (west), the United States 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.
“protection against Elsa “It does not mean lowering your guard against COVID-19,” Prime Minister Manuel Marrero said Monday, according to the news release.
Cuba, which has not yet been affected by the disease, has seen the number of cases rise in recent weeks, reaching a total of 207,322 cases, including 1,372 deaths for a population of 11.2 million.
According to experts from the Cuban National Institute of Meteorology (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 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 leaving 121 missing.
And the authorities chose to expedite the demolition of the rest of the building, which they fear could collapse in turn, so that it could be completed at night from Sunday to Monday, before the storm arrived.