Cubans in Miami worry about relatives after Hurricane Irma causes flooding, destruction

MIAMI – Hurricane Ian made landfall early Tuesday morning in Cuba’s tobacco-rich Pinar del Rio province. The Category 3 storm — with winds of up to 125 mph and up to 14 feet of storm surge — started to beat the coastal village of Coloma at about 4:30 am

Carmen Pino, who was born in Coloma and lives in Miami-Dade County, was worried about her family. She said her heart broke when she talked to her 99-year-old father, Jesus Pino Aleman, who was among the Cubans whose homes were flooded and damaged.

“To see my father in those conditions was the most difficult moment I have lived,” Pino said in Spanish later adding, “The most difficult moment in the history of my town was last night.”

A teenage boy picks up debris at a farm that grows tobacco after Hurricane Ian destroyed structures and caused flooding on Tuesday in Cuba’s Pinar del Rio province. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

In just a few hours, Pino Aleman lost all he had owned all of his life, and he and his family were devastated. Some Cubans in Miami haven’t been able to talk to their relatives in western Cuba for hours. Pino said she last spoke to her family at about 7 am

Government-owned media reported the residents of Pinar del Rio were without power.

A man leans over next to a box filled with a fishing line, after Hurricane Ian’s storm surge flooded the area in Playa Cajio, Artemisa, Cuba, Tuesday, September 27, 2022. Ian (AP Photo/Ismael Francisco) (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

The storm surge caused massive flooding in coastal areas in southwestern and northwestern Cuba. The wind also tore roofs, destroyed wooden homes, and uprooted trees.

Many of the 50,000 people who evacuated their coastal towns and farms have yet to be able to check up on their homes.

Hurricane Ian damages electric posts on Tuesday in Pinar del Rio, Cuba. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Amid an economic crisis with shortages of food, farmers lost animals and crops.

The crisis before the hurricane was so dire that US authorities have reported that more desperate Cubans than usual have been risking their lives at sea to get to South Florida.

Just on Tuesday afternoon, under a cloudy gray sky, a group arrived in a wooden boat at Pompano Beach.

A woman points to Hurricane Ian’s damage to her home on Tuesday in Pinar del Rio. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

As of Tuesday evening, the hurricane continued moving out of Cuba and into the Gulf of Mexico where it was forecast to strengthen into a Category 4 before making landfall in western Florida.

Cuban President Miguel Diaz Canel wore his military green fatigues and a baseball cap to visit Pinar Del Rio on Tuesday afternoon and say the assessment of the damage was ongoing.

“The first impact is very painful,” Diaz Canel said in Spanish.

A family walks in the rain in search of shelter after Hurricane Ian flooded their home in Pinar del Rio, Cuba, Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022.(AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Granma, the Cuban government’s main newspaper reported the island had not experienced a hurricane of that magnitude for about 14 years.

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Tuesday’s satellite image

Hurricane Ian over Cuba as a Category 3 storm. (NOAA)

Watch the 6 pm report

Hurricane Ian made landfall early Tuesday morning in Cuba’s tobacco-rich Pinar del Rio province. The Category 3 storm — with winds of up to 125 mph and up to 14 feet of storm surge — started to beat the coastal village of Coloma at about 4:30 am

Watch the 4:30pm report

Hurricane Ian made landfall early Tuesday morning in Cuba’s tobacco-rich Pinar del Rio province. The Category 3 storm — with winds of up to 125 mph and up to 14 feet of storm surge — started to beat the coastal village of Coloma at about 4:30 am

Watch the 3:30pm report

Hurricane Ian made landfall early Tuesday morning in Cuba’s tobacco-rich Pinar del Rio province. The Category 3 storm — with winds of up to 125 mph and up to 14 feet of storm surge — started to beat the coastal village of Coloma at about 4:30 am

Watch the 12pm report

Hurricane Ian leaves some Cubans in the western side of the island trapped in flooded homes.

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