Hurricane Ian Lashes Cuba, Aims at Florida
Havana, 27 Sep (ONA) --- A strengthening Hurricane Ian’s rain and winds lashed Cuba’s western tip, where local authorities have evacuated 50,000 people, as it became a major Category 3 storm early today and roared on a path that could see it hit US Florida’s west coast as a Category 4 hurricane.
Officials in Cuba’s set up 55 shelters, rushed in emergency personnel and took steps to protect crops ahead of Ian’s expected landfall early today. The US National Hurricane Center said the island’s west coast could see as much as 14 feet (4.3 meters) of storm surge.
After passing over Cuba, Ian was forecast to strengthen further over warm Gulf of Mexico waters before reaching Florida as early as tomorrow (Wednesday) as a Category 4 storm with top winds of 140 mph (225 km/h).
Flash flooding was predicted for much of the Florida peninsula, and heavy rainfall was possible for the southeast United States later this week. With tropical storm force winds extending 115 miles (185 kilometers) from Ian’s center, watches covered the Florida Keys to Lake Okeechobee.