HAVANA, Aug 28 Cuba decreed this Monday the cyclone alert phase for its westernmost provinces due to the passage of tropical storm Idalia, which meteorologists expect to become a hurricane in the next few hours.The center of Idalia is located in the Caribbean Sea, between the Mexican province of Yucatan and the western tip of Cuba, advancing at about 11 kilometers per hour in a northerly direction, towards the United States.
The National Staff of the Civil Defense of Cuba decreed the Cyclonic Alert phase for the provinces of Pinar del Río, Artemisa and the special municipality of Isla de la Juventud, because “the weather conditions continue to deteriorate” in the area.
The western third of the island is already experiencing moderate to heavy rain since Sunday afternoon, when the information phase was declared. Rainfall is expected to intensify in the coming hours and may cause flooding.
The Cuban Institute of Meteorology (INSMET) predicts winds in the west of the country that on Monday afternoon will reach 75 kilometers per hour, with higher gusts, and “strong and intense rains.” In the center of the storm they already exceed 100 kilometers per hour.
This means that there could be rises in the sea in low areas of the coast due to “strong swells”.
The Cuban forecast indicates that in the next 12 to 24 hours Idalia will maintain its “slow movement” and that it will gain a little more in organization and intensity.
So far some 8,000 people have been rehoused and it is expected that throughout this Monday the residents of the Bailén and Boca de Galafre regions, in the province of Pinar del Río, will be evicted, and the same measure is being studied in other locations, such as Guanímar (Artemisa).
In the west of the country, where a year ago Hurricane Ian wreaked havoc that is still visible, measures have also been taken to prevent flooding in inhabited areas, protect crops and guarantee the water supply.
Ian caused the death of five people and left considerable damage to more than 100,000 homes, agriculture, and electricity, telephone and drinking water supply services.
Early in the morning in Cuba, the center of the storm was 190 kilometers east-southeast of Cozumel (Mexico) and 190 kilometers south of Cabo de San Antonio, the westernmost point of Cuba.