Hail, Floods and Strong Winds Caused by an ‘Atypical’ Storm in Havana

Hail in the courtyard of a house in Central Havana, this Thursday. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Juan Diego Rodríguez, Havana, 10 April 2023 — A strong and atypical storm rained down hailstones on Havana in the early morning of this Thursday and caused flooding not only in several municipalities of the capital but also in the west of the Island.

For Lydia, who lives in Central Havana, the least of it was the large hailstones that woke her up and almost broke her windows. The water tanks on the roof of the building were directly above her bedroom, and they overflowed, taking away some precarious pipes that her neighbor had installed. All the water fell into her apartment, which was already in precarious condition.

“It was horrible. I opened the bathroom door to go in, and a waterfall landed on my head,” she tells this newspaper, while moving her electronic equipment to dry ground on the dining room table. She spent the night on a blanket on the floor.

It’s already noon, and the plumber the neighbor promised to send over is not at home because he’s working and still hasn’t arrived. “What am I going to do?” The woman is tearing her hair out. “I can’t go up there, I don’t know how to fix this mess.”

The worst, she fears, is that in the next storm, the walls, in which thick cracks are observed, may give way and the roof collapse. “This has no solution, it’s destroyed, it would have to be knocked down and rebuilt, but no matter how much we complain, the State does nothing.”

According to meteorologist Alejandro Adonis, an “isolated” storm cloud moved over Havana from the Straits of Florida “in an unusual trajectory from northwest to southeast” and “produced intense electrical activity, large hailstones and strong winds,” shortly before 5:30 in the morning.

The official press confirmed this assessment and said that the storm “produced the fall of abundant hail” of up to two inches in diameter in several municipalities, including Regla, Plaza de la Revolución, Centro Habana, San Miguel del Padrón and Old Havana.

In addition, there was strong lightning, and wind gusts of between 34 and 37 miles per hour were recorded at the Casablanca weather station. The early morning gusts caught many unprepared, as they didn’t wake up until the damage to windows and doors was evident. Some zinc tiles and water tank caps turned into veritable  missiles in the dark.

In Sancti Spíritus, the Escambray newspaper published the case of the community of San Pedro, about 19 miles from Trinidad, where the storm caused the collapse of a dozen homes and an elementary school.

The authorities did not report injuries, but, the provincial newspaper says “talking with the neighbors we learned about the anguish experienced the day before in the face of strong winds and lightning.”

In addition, the newspaper warned that the amount of damage “may increase as reports from other nearby settlements come in.”

Translated by Regina Anavy


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