Storm-triggered flooding in Havana, western Cuba begins to subside

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Floodwaters associated with a storm in the Gulf of Mexico and affecting the Cuban capital and the western part of the island started to subside on Saturday, images provided by EFE photojournalists showed.

Strong winds and high tides left Havana and the coasts of western Cuba under water, and several communities in low-lying areas had to be evacuated.

Despite the sunshine and clearing skies, waves 4 to 5 meters (13 to 16 feet) high crashed onto the iconic Malecon esplanade and poured inland through the Vedado and Miramar neighborhoods, where the electric power was down but water and gas services remained intact.


The storm was due to an extratropical low-pressure area that set off sustained winds of up to 35kph (22 mph) with gusts of up to 63kph, the Cuban Meteorology Institute (Insmet) reported.

Cuba activated last Thursday its early warning system, asked residents of areas prone to flooding to take precautions, and took preventive measures for institutional buildings.

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez on Friday shared images on Twitter showing how the seawater had swamped the entrances to the Foreign Ministry, not far from the Malecon.

“The flooding reached the Foreign Ministry. As yet there has been no damage. All preventive measures were taken. A group of our workers have remained there to help local residents,” the foreign minister tweeted.

Up to now no victims have been reported nor has an estimate of material damage been calculated.

The flooding of the northern and southern coasts of the island continued all day Friday, but as forecast by Insmet and shown by EFE photojournalists, the floodwaters began subsiding gradually starting Saturday morning.

The last serious flooding of Havana took place when Hurricane Irma inundated the Malecon and wide areas of the Central Havana and Vedado neighborhoods, causing serious damage.