Hurricane Ian brings heavy rains, strong winds to western Cuba

HAVANA, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) -- Hurricane Ian made landfall in Cuba's westernmost province of Pinar del Rio in the early hours of Tuesday, bringing heavy rains and gusty winds as it makes its way toward U.S. Florida Keys.

According to the island's Institute of Meteorology (Insmet), weather conditions started deteriorating late Monday on the Isla de la Juventud special municipality, where the hurricane caused flooding in low-lying areas, power outages and fallen trees.

Insmet said that the hurricane also produced storm surges and moderate coastal flooding in Cuba's southwest littoral zone.

In addition, in the capital Havana, drain cleaning had been implemented in areas prone to flooding, including the city's waterfront promenade.

Heavy rainfall warnings remained in place for the western provinces of Matanzas, Mayabeque and Artemisa, as well as the central province of Cienfuegos.

Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel instructed local governments to prepare for the storm, saying "the protection of the population is essential."

The storm also battered Jamaica and the Cayman Islands.

Ian strengthened into a Category 3 hurricane, becoming the ninth named storm of the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season, which runs through Nov. 30.

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