Hurricane Irma Hits Cuba

Although U.S. news media have reported that Hurricane Irma has been inflicting damage on the north shore of Cuba, they generally have not provided details, probably because they do not have reporters on the island.

However, early on September 10, Reuters reported that Irma uprooted trees and tore off roofs in Cuba . . . with 125-mile-per-hour (200-km per hour) winds that damaged hotels in the island’s best-known beach resorts and forced evacuations as far along the coast as low-lying areas of the capital Havana. Power was out and cellphone service was spotty in many regions as Irma neared the end of a 200-mile (320-km) trek westwards” on the north shore of the island. The hurricane was forecast to leave Cuba about 150 miles (240 km) east of Havana and head north toward Florida “late Saturday.”[1]

Associated Press, also early on September 10, added that “authorities on the island were assessing the damage and warning of staggering damage to keys off the northern coast studded with all-inclusive resorts and cities, as well as farmland in central Cuba.” In addition, late Saturday these authorities warned that flooding had reached more than 2,000 feet (600 meters) into Havana and was going to last more than 36 hours. There have been no immediate reports of deaths caused by the hurricane.[2]

Nick Miroff of the Washington Post on Saturday afternoon reported that the hurricane had been “swamping seaside towns and shredding the island’s rickety infrastructure, though there were no reports of deaths or injuries.” He had seen images of “downed trees and rubble-clogged streets” and “power lines and electrical posts . . . strewn across roads and highways.” Some towns “reported damage to 60 percent of homes, as the storm shredded zinc roofing panels and blasted apart old Spanish tiles.” [3]

The Miami Herald had a similar report early on September 10 with images of damage. It said there were reports of “heavy flooding” from Matanzas to Havana with “waves between 19 and 30 feet.”[4]

In addition, here is an abbreviated list of reports about Irma by Cuban media:[5]

Date Time Event
9/8/17 07:00 Heavy rain, high winds & waves in Punta de Maisi at eastern end of island.
09:45 Irma approaches Baracoa (Guantanamo) on eastern end of island.
10:55 Light rain from Irma in city of Guantanamo at eastern end of island.
13:08 Clouds over entre island; Irma’s “eye” is 300 km (180 miles) SE of Cayo Coco, (Ciego de Avila).
22:00 Irma landfall at El Romano (Camagúey/Ciego de Ávila).
9/9/17 09:00 Irma’s “eye” is 35 km (21 ni) NE of Caibarién (Vila Clara) & 160 km (96 mi) SE of Punta Hicacos (Matanzas).
09:20 Winds of 160 kmh (96 mph) with gusts < 250 kmh/150 mph & damaged buildings in Caibarién (Villa Clara).
09:35 Damaged buildings in Morón (Ciego de Avila).
10:40 Wind gusts >200 kmh (120 MPH) & 40% of buildings damaged in Yaguajay (Sancti Spiritus).
11:20 Damaged buildings & communications in Cayo Coco (Ciego de Avila).
11:30 Damaged buildings & trees in Santa Lucia (Camagûey).
11:35 Damaged buildings in Santa Clara (Villa Clara).
12:00 Wind gusts 200 kmh (120 mph); sea penetrations of 500 meters; damaged buildings, electrical and communications in Caibarién (Villa Clara).
13:00 Dams @ 84% capacity with 9 overflowing in Pinar del Rio Province.
13:10 “Eye” of hurricane is 200 km (120 mi) from Havana, but hard rain should start soon.
13:40 Heavy rains approaching Varadero, Matanzas, Cárdenas & Marti (Matanzas).
15:00 Villa Clara reports that it has been lashed all day by hurricane-force winds and rain with many damaged buildings.


[1] Reuters, Havana Braced for Floods After Hurricane Irma Rakes Cuban Keys, N.Y. Times (Sept. 10, 2017).

[2] Assoc. Press, Cuba Surveys Toppled Houses, Flooded Cities in Wake of Irma, N.Y. Times (Sept. 10, 2017).

[3] Miroff, Hurricane Irma pounds Cuba’s north coast, Wash. Post (Sept. 9, 2017).

[4] Hurricane Irma in photos: heavy flooding on the Cuban coast, from Matanzas to Havana, Miami Herald (Sept, 10, 2017).

[5] Hurricane Alarm Phase decreed for the eastern and central provinces of Cuba, Granma (Sept. 8, 2017); First reports of damage by Irma in Gibara, Granma (Sept. 8, 2017); Advisory No. 4, National Civil Defense General Staff regarding Irma, Granma (Sept. 8, 2017); Minute by minute: Hurricane Irma in Cuba, Granma (Sept. 8-9, 2017); Irma remains an extremely dangerous hurricane, Granma (Sept. 8, 2017); Hurricane Irma makes landfall at Cayo Romano, Granma (Sept. 9, 2017); The capital intensified preparation for Irma, Granma (Sept. 9, 2017); Irma continues to pose a threat to Cuba, Granma (Sept. 9, 2017); A furious Irma hits Yaguajay, Granma (Sept. 9, 2017); Electrical specialists depart western Cuba to support recovery in central provinces, Granma (Sept. 9, 2017); Advisory No. 5 of the National Civil Defense General Staff regarding Hurricane Irma, Granma (Sept. 9, 2017).

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As a retired lawyer and adjunct law professor, Duane W. Krohnke has developed strong interests in U.S. and international law, politics and history. He also is a Christian and an active member of Minneapolis’ Westminster Presbyterian Church. His blog draws from these and other interests. He delights in the writing freedom of blogging that does not follow a preordained logical structure. The ex post facto logical organization of the posts and comments is set forth in the continually being revised “List of Posts and Comments–Topical” in the Pages section on the right side of the blog.

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