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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Hurricane Ian rain-bands spreading across southern Florida, NHC says

National Hurricane Center has said rain-bands from Ian are spreading over the southern Florida peninsula in its latest update at 4am local time.

The hurricane’s sustained windspeed is at 60mph with guts of up to 83mph.

An hour back, tropical-storm-force winds reached the southeast and southwest coasts of Florida.

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Climate crisis is creating stronger hurricanes than ever before. Here’s why.

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

The Independent’s climate reporter Ethan Freedman brings you more.

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Ron DeSantis says he is ‘thankful’ to Biden amid political sparring

Appearing on Fox News, Florida governor Ron DeSantis thanked Joe Biden for his swift approval of the emergency declaration and aid to his state.

Amid their recent sparring over the Martha’s Vineyard migrants issue, Mr DeSantis said he and the president were working together “regardless of party lines” as lives are at stake.

Mr DeSantis has been at loggerheads with Democrats after he was sued for sending migrants from San Antonio, Texas, to Martha’s Vineyard on two flights earlier this month.

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Ian moving closer to west coast of Florida

A hurricane warning is in effect for an area spanning Chokoloskee to the Anclote River, including Tampa Bay and Dry Tortugas.

It is expected to make landfall on Wednesday afternoon, possibly as a Category 4 hurricane.

(National Hurricane Center)

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At least two dead in Cuba as hurricane leaves behind trail of destruction

At least two people have died in Cuba from building collapses, confirmed Yamilé Ramos Cordero, president of the Provincial Defense Council of Pinar del Río.

A woman in the Pinar del Río municipality of San Luis died after a wall of her home collapsed, he said.

Another person, a man, died after the roof of his house caved in.

Ian made landfall in Cuba as a Category 3 storm, and has caused significant damage to some of the most important tobacco farms in Cuba – producing the island’s famous cigars. The country had already been struggling with an economic crisis and faced frequent power outages in recent months.

The impacts of the storm were described as “apocalyptic” by residents after their farms were destroyed.

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Video shows multiple aircraft damaged at North Perry Airport

Aircrafts were seen rammed into each other, some turned upside down and many were damaged after a tornado tore through Broward County on Tuesday night.

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Ian producing storm surge flooding across the lower Florida Keys, says NHC

In its latest 1am update on Wednesday night, National Hurricane Center said the hurricane is producing storm surge flooding in entire lower Florida keys.

Sustained winds of 63mph and tastes over 93mph have been detected in the region.

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Reports of damage as tornadoes strike parts of Florida

Several tornadoes have struck Floridian cities, including Palm Beach County, Broward County and Cooper City as Hurricane Ian is expected to cause more damage.

Buildings and vehicles were damaged in Palm Beach County’s Kings Point community late Tuesday. Pictures from the area showed cars rammed into each other, uprooted trees and damaged houses.

At least two tornadoes struck Broward County on Tuesday evening, with its mayor saying it resulted in significant damage to several aircrafts and hangers at North Perry Airport (HWO). The airport was shut down until further notice.

Another tornado was reported over Cooper City and a warning from the National Weather Service to residents in Davie, Plantation and Lauderdale Lakes to take cover immediately, the Miami Herald reported.

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Watch as massive waves fuck Key West

Images and videos from the Florida Keys are showing significant flooding as the storm was passing through the islands off the southern tip of the state ahead of the expected landfall on Wednesday.

Hundreds of Florida residents are evacuating their homes, stashing precious belongings on upper floors and fleeing from oncoming Hurricane Ian.

Ian is expected to grow wider and stronger as its forward movement slowed over the Gulf.

A hurricane warning covering roughly 220 miles (350 km) of the state included Fort Myers as well as Tampa and St Petersburg, which could get their first direct hit by a major hurricane since 1921.

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Biden discusses preparations with governor

US president Joe Biden has spoke to Florida governor Ron DeSantis to discuss the steps the federal government is taking to help Florida prepare for Hurricane Ian, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Twitter, adding the two “committed to continued close coordination. ”

Mr Biden said that he has approved an emergency assistance request from Florida governor Ron DeSantis and that the administration has been positioning supplies and personnel in recent days, including 3.5 million liters of water, 3.7 million meals and 700 generators.

“Our safety is more important than anything,” Mr Biden said. “Our hearts are with everyone who will feel the effects of this storm, and we’ll be with you every step of the way.”

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