Hurricane Ian update – live: Cuba hit by total blackout as 2 million evacuate in Florida

Florida bracing for Hurricane Ian

Two people have died and the power supply has been severed to Cuba’s entire population of 11 million after Hurricane Ian hammered one of the island’s main power plants.

The hurricane is now gathering strength and bearing down on Florida as the state races to prepare for a “life-threatening” storm expected to pass over the Florida Keys.

More than 2.5 million Floridians have been placed under evacuation orders or warnings with the sprawling storm on track to make landfall as a Category 3 or Category 4 hurricane later today.

Governor Ron DeSantis urged Floridians to heed warnings to evacuate to higher ground due to the potential for “catastrophic flooding and life-threatening storm surge”.

He said 8,000 people were without power in southeastern Florida and that 30,000 state personnel were on alert to help respond to outages.

“This is a lot of nasty weather that we’re in store for over the next few days,” he said.

The most recent models have the hurricane projected to make landfall south of Tampa Bay, where storm surges could reach up to 12 ft (3.7 meters). Up to 24 inches (61cm) of rain is expected in some areas and wind speeds of 130 miles per hour (209km/h).

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Warnings in Florida for ‘life-threatening storm surge’ and ‘catastrophic flooding’

The National Hurricane Center has issued a warning for a ‘life-threatening storm surge’ for Florida’s west coast. The region from Naples to Sarasota is at the highest risk, he said.

A warning is in place for hurricane-force winds for southwest and west-central Florida beginning on Wednesday morning.

Heavy rainfall will cause “catastrophic flooding” across portions of central Florida with considerable flooding in southern Florida, northern Florida and parts of Georgia and Carolina.

Heavy rainfall will cause catastrophic flooding across portions of central Florida with considerable flooding in southern Florida, northern Florida and parts of Georgia and Carolina.

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Scores of flights delayed as Hurricane Ian approaches Florida

Tampa Bay International Airport announced that it would be closing on Tuesday afternoon as Hurricane Ian moves towards Florida.

The major airport, which has 280 daily flights, will suspend operations at 5pm amid the threat of the Category 3 storm which is set to bring more than 100mph winds, severe downpours and “life-threatening” coastal surge to the west coast of Florida.

Governor Ron DeSantis urged Floridians to heed warnings to evacuate and seek higher ground due to the potential for “catastrophic flooding and life-threatening storm surge”.

The most recent weather models have Hurricane Ian projected to make landfall south of Tampa Bay on Florida’s west coast.

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Entire Cuba without power after hurricane knocks out electric grid

Cuba is facing a complete power blackout after Hurricane Ian slammed into the island’s western tip.

The country’s 11 million people are without power after the electrical system suffered a total collapse and one of its power plants could not be restored, officials at Cuba’s Electric Union said.

Power was initially knocked out to about 1 million people in Cuba’s western provinces, but later the entire grid collapsed.

The head of the electrical energy authority said on Cuban state television on Tuesday that the island-wide blackout happened due to a breakdown of the national electrical system.

The Category 3 storm on the island’s western end is now barreling towards Florida.

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Disney parks rush to prepare for Hurricane Ian

Disney has announced that it’s shutting down some operations as Hurricane Ian approaches Florida.

“Walt Disney World Resort is preparing for necessary operational adjustments based on the latest information from the National Weather Service,” the company said in a statement posted to its site.

The water park Blizzard Beach is currently closed and another water park, Typhoon Lagoon, will close temporarily on Wednesday and Thursday.

The Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground, Copper Creek Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Treehouse Villas at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa and the Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort will temporarily close from Wednesday until Friday due to the weather, Disney said.

Read Gustaf Kilander‘s full report.

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Hurricane Ian is another sign of climate change’s impacts

Hurricane Ian officially formed as a Category 1 storm on Monday, bearing down on the Cayman Islands and Cuba as Floridians were warned to “be ready” for extreme weather in the coming days.

After months with few notable storms, the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season is in full swing. As Florida prepares for the incoming weather event, Atlantic Canada is recovering from post-tropical cyclone Fiona which made landfall in Nova Scotia early on Saturday.

As the world’s average temperature increases and sea levels rise, hurricanes are expected to become stronger — and the damage more catastrophic, scientists say.

Research on 2017’s Hurricane Harvey in Texas found that planetary warming made rainfall during the days-long deluge 15 percent more intense. Another study on 2019’s Typhoon Hagbis in Japan found that the climate crisis added at least $4bn in additional damages.

Ethan Freedman with the full story.

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What does a hurricane look like from space?

Satellites are capturing the enormous Hurricane Ian from space as the Category 3 storm barrels toward the Florida coast.

The images, released by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), showed tightly packed storm bands rotating north as the eye passed over western Cuba on Tuesday morning.

As of noon Tuesday (EST), the storm was moving at 10 mph over Havana in the direction of Key West with maximum sustained winds of about 115 mph.

Cuba was lashed with heavy rain and winds overnight, bringing the threat of coastal surges, flash flooding and landslides.

Louise Boyle has the details.

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Hurricane Ian to bring ‘life-threatening’ storm surge across Florida

Hurricane Ian is expected to bring “life-threatening” storm surge waters across the west coast of Florida, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Just south of Tampa will get the worst of it, with surge levels reaching up to 12 feet.

The rest of the state won’t be spared however. Large parts of the Florida coast, where major cities often lie at or below sea level, will face surges of up to five or six feet.

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Floridians play in flood waters and even wakeboard as Ian approaches

It should go without saying, but don’t try this at home!

As Hurricane Ian rolls towards Florida, many residents have been heeding officials’ advice and preparing themselves to evacuate while avoiding rising waters.

Some, however, have taken the opposite approach.

Residents were captured playing in high waters and even wakeboarding down a flooded street as the hurricane heads towards the Sunshine State.

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What’s it like flying through the eye of a hurricane?

An amazing video clip shows National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration personnel flying a Lockheed WP-3D Orion “Hurricane Hunter” plane nicknamed “Kermit” through the growing Hurricane Ian.

The plane rattles as the three-person pilot crew steers the craft through the storm.

Here’s our recent piece on why scientists fly through such storms and what it’s like.

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Zero fatalities as Hurricane Ian passes over Cuba

Cuba felt the full effect of Hurricane Ian on Tuesday, with the storm expected to reach Category 4 soon, leaving 1 million without electricity and causing mass evacuations.

Cuban officials say they set up 55 shelters and transported 50,000 people out of harm’s way in Pinar del Río, a western province that got the worst of Hurricane Ian.

The island nation says it has not suffered any fatalities so far as a result of the hurricane.

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