HAVANA. With its heavy rain load, the dreaded tropical storm Elsa has left the central western region of Cuba without causing severe damage to people, infrastructure or agriculture, and is now moving north to the Florida Keys. Elsa, which appeared in the Caribbean last week as the fifth storm and first hurricane of the Atlantic season (reached a category 1 force), had lost virulence as it passed over the Lesser Antilles and skirted the southern coast of Hispaniola; and in any case in the Caribbean it had left a toll of 3 deaths and damage to houses and trees.
In Cuba, more than 100,000 people had been evacuated before the arrival of the tropical storm, which however caused landslides, rains and floods. Although Cuba is hit by severe thunderstorms almost every year during the cyclone season, this time there was a greater fear because the Caribbean island is going through a critical phase and “suffers” the shortage of almost all basic products due to the Covid-19 epidemic. In Havana the authorities had decreed the closure of the shops at noon, the service in the banks had been suspended and the circulation of vehicles, including public transport buses, had been prohibited; in addition, people living in places subject to flooding were evacuated.
Therefore, the worst was feared and instead in addition to strong gusts of wind and copious rains in the eastern provinces (where there was damage to banana crops) Elsa continued to lose strength as she moved slowly over the mainland. Particular the abundant precipitations in Cienfuegos that have left many flooded roads. Leaving Cuba, Elsa is expected to cross the eastern fringe of the Gulf of Mexico where, according to forecasters, she could strengthen before entering the United States via the Florida peninsula.
In recent days, the authorities had ordered the demolition of the partially collapsed condominium in Miami last June 24 and made it collapse in a controlled manner for fear of greater damage. Before Elsa, tropical storms Ana, Bill, Claudette and Danny were recorded this year. Meteorologists predict that it will be an above-normal cyclonic season, but without reaching the 2020 budget, which has broken all historical records.