The tropical storm Elsa left Cuba on Monday evening, causing heavy rain in its name, but was heading for Florida after killing three people in the Caribbean over the weekend without causing major damage to the island.
At 9pm local time, the storm returned to the sea in the village of Santa Cruz in the province of Mayapek near Havana, seven hours after crossing the island from south to north, according to the Cuban Meteorological Agency (INSMED).
The U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said it was “moving northwest at 20 km / h” with winds of up to 85 km / h.
Havana and its people were prepared for the pending rain and possible flooding on Monday evening: the capital’s businesses were closed at noon and public transport was suspended, as well as private vehicle travel other than civil defense. Or relief.
Television and Internet images show that some residents have taken refuge in their furniture, especially on the ground floor or by residents of Malegaon, Havana’s famous seafront.
After killing three people in the Dominican Republic and Saint Lucia, the NHC reported that Elsa had attacked Cuba at 2 pm local time in Sianca de Sabada National Park in the Myanmar region (west).
“Very heavy rain”
As a precaution, more than 100,000 people – mostly in low-lying or coastal areas – have been evacuated to safety, a task complicated by the corona virus infection, as Cuba faces a sharp reversal in the number of new cases.
“Defense against Elsa does not mean lowering your defenses against Covit-19,” Prime Minister Manuel Marrero said in a news broadcast on Monday.
Cuba, which has not yet been affected by the disease, has reached a total of 207,322 in recent weeks, including 1,372 out of a population of 11.2 million.
According to Insmet experts, the storm threatens to cause heavy rain in western and central Cuba for the next 48 hours with a large amount of clouds.
The danger is that this rain will fall on soil already saturated with summer rains in the previous days, which could cause flooding.
According to television, the village of Zibakova in the foothills of Manicaragua (Villa Clara province, center) was cut off from all external access due to rain, but overall the storm did not cause much damage to the island.
Is expected to strengthen in Florida
On the contrary, the water falling from the sky was able to fill some reservoirs in the country, which received “an additional 68 million cubic meters” between Sunday and Monday, pointed out National Hydraulic Resources (INRH) expert Arcelio Fernandez. .
“As for Havana, it will be more suitable for us (even if it rains), as long as there is not too much heavy rain creating flooding,” he said.
To get away from Cuba, Elsa has to go overnight in the Gulf of Mexico from Monday to Tuesday. The NHC has warned of its “strengthening” as it warns of a possible hurricane wave off the west coast of Florida “with the risk of flooding” in the next 48 hours.
“Hurricanes are likely to hit the southern and Florida peninsula on Tuesday,” he said.
Elsa’s US study routine for hurricanes passing through Cuba from June 1 to November 30, the traditional season for these storms in the Atlantic Ocean.
This prompted the two countries’ meteorological centers to exchange information, despite diplomatic tensions between Washington and Havana, which is considered a matter of national security.