HAVANA (AP) — Hurricane Ian tore into western Cuba on Tuesday as a major hurricane, with nothing to stop it from intensifying into a catastrophic Category 4 storm before it crashes ashore Wednesday in Florida, where officials ordered 2.5 million people to evacuate.
Ian made landfall at 3:30 a.m. Tuesday in Cuba’s Pinar del Rio province, where officials set up 55 shelters, evacuated 50,000 people, rushed in emergency personnel and took steps to protect crops in the nation’s main tobacco-growing region.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said “significant wind and storm surge impacts” occurred Tuesday morning in western Cuba. Ian struck with sustained top winds of 125 mph. As much as 14 feet of storm surge was predicted along Cuba’s coast.