Havana, the capital of Cuba was beaten and battered by massively heavy winds and torrential downpours on late Sunday and into early Monday. As a result, Cuba’s president confirmed a tornado did, in fact, hit the city, causing a blackout involving a large majority of the area by 9 pm. Currently, reports indicate that at least four were killed, and an estimated 195 others were injured.
President Miguel Diaz-Canel posted pictures to Twitter on early Monday, showing himself and various rescue workers standing next to what appeared to be an overturned vehicle, supposedly a victim of the storm. Otherwise, no further information or mention of the storm and the resulting tornado appeared in state-run media.
However, both Havana residents and Cuban media took to the internet, posting pictures to Twitter showing the aftermath and destruction left by the tornado. Pictures posted showed light posts lying on top of cars that had been crushed, as well as various cars still trapped in floodwaters throughout the ravaged city. According to a post made on Twitter by a local radio station, the tornado primarily affected the neighborhoods of Regla and 10 de Octubre, as well as the town of San Miguel de Padron itself.
What makes this even more shocking is that tornadoes in Havana, or even Cuba for that matter, are so very rare, that no one saw this coming. The most serious weather event the area suffers from is that of the off chance a water spout comes on shore, but still, even that type of weather is nothing compared to what Havana received with this tornado.
A Cuban actor, Luis Silva, posted to his Instagram, telling of the ordeal of he was with his wife and children, driving in their car when the actual tornado hit. “I had to avoid fallen trees, floods, strong winds. Until I was able to get home. We had a big scare.”
According to statements made by Armando Caymares, of Cuba’s Institue of Meteorology, locals recounted that the tornado made the sound of a jet engine, and they stated they felt the sudden changes in the environmental pressure around them when the tornado hit. As a result, the staff of a maternity hospital, Hijas de Galicia, quickly evacuated the hospital due to the amount of damage caused by the storm.
Tornados present a new problem with the Caribbean based island, as the country usually deals with hurricanes and various Atlantic storms. Because of this factor, they were totally unprepared and blindsided by this particular type of weather event.
So, what’s the verdict—you decide.
Could this recent tornado be a harbinger of more to come?images