HAVANA – A tornado struck in Cuba’s capital late Sunday, killing at least three people and injuring more than 170 people, the country’s president said.
The twister hit several municipalities of Havana and tore off roofs and flipped over cars, while heavy rains flooded streets. Power was cut to part of the city.
“The damage is severe. So far we regret the loss of 3 human lives and treated 172 injured,” Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel posted to Twitter.
Realizada reunión del Consejo de Ministros de #Cuba para evaluar afectaciones de lluvias y tornado en #LaHabana. Tomadas las medidas para avanzar en la recuperación. #SomosCuba #SomosContinuidad #FuerzaHabana #FuerzaCuba pic.twitter.com/7revnNHWZl
— Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez (@DiazCanelB) January 28, 2019
Cuban meteorologist Armando Caymares told state run media the tornado formed off the coast.
“People heard what sounded like a jet engine and felt changes in environmental pressure,” he said.
The local radio station Radio Reloj confirmed that so far damages are reported in public facilities and in the residential sector, while there were slight floods in several sectors of the Malecón in the capital and in other low areas of the island’s coastline.
The storm hit the north-western coast of Cuba with gusts of wind over 100 kilometers per hour and hail was reported in some areas.
Bolivian President Evo Morales was quick to show solidarity with the Caribbean nation.
Toda nuestra solidaridad con el Hno. pueblo de Cuba 🇨🇺, que sufrió un fuerte tornado que dejó al menos tres personas muertas y cientos de heridos. Enviamos nuestras condolencias a las familias de las víctimas y ofrecemos al presidente @DiazCanelB nuestro apoyo en lo que requiera.
— Evo Morales Ayma (@evoespueblo) January 28, 2019
Tornadoes are rare in Cuba. The largest occurred in 1940 and killed 20 people in Bejucal.