Hurricane Ida hit Cuba's Isle of Youth on Friday, lashing the island nation with fierce winds and rain.
Cuba's meteorology institute said Ida would cause storm surges as far east as Havana. The governor of the Isle of Youth, Adian Morera, said an evacuation centre was ready to receive families in the main town of Nueva Gerona, and sea vessels had already been secured along the coast.
Prior to making landfall, Ida had been upgraded to a Category 1 hurricane, packing maximum sustained winds of 120 km per hour, meteorologists said.
Ida reached hurricane status much more quickly than forecasters had expected.
The storm was expected to keep gaining strength and speed over the warm Gulf waters, endangering the U.S. coastlines of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, forecasters said.
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