Tropical Storm Ian, which upgraded to a Category 1 hurricane on Monday, threatens Cuba and Florida after Canada suffered immense damage as Fiona passed.  ;
“Ian is becoming a hurricane,” the US National Hurricane Center (NHC) announced, warning that “additional rapid strengthening is expected today.” The Saffir-Simpson scale of hurricane strength ranges from 1 to 5.
Ian was heading northwest, towards western Cuba and the Cayman Islands with sustained winds of 120 kilometers per hour, according to the NHC.
It should hit the west in particular on Monday. of Cuba, with “significant wind and storm surge impacts,” according to the NHC.
The US National Hurricane Center has issued a “hurricane alert” for several areas of Cuba (Isla of Juventud, Pinar Del Rio, and Artemisa).
The largest island in the British Cayman Islands Territory, Grand Cayman, also issued a hurricane warning. Ian is expected to graze it on Monday.
Towards a “major” hurricane
The NHC had indicated on Sunday that it expected Ian to become within the next 24 to 48 hours a “major” hurricane, that is, according to its nomenclature, capable of inflicting “devastating” damage, damaging houses, uprooting trees and disrupting the distribution of water and electricity.
The organization calls “major” hurricanes those with winds reaching at least 178 km/h, i.e. categories 3, 4 and 5 on the so-called “Saffir-Simpson” scale.
Ian should go up, via the Gulf of Mexico, towards Florida which has already begun to take its precautions. NASA has given up the takeoff scheduled for Tuesday of its new mega-rocket for the Moon, from the Kennedy Space Center located in this southern United States.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency in all 67 counties on Sunday, and authorities were ramping up preparations.
“Expect heavy rain, strong winds, flash flooding, storm surge and even isolated tornadoes,” he said.
The governor asked residents to stock up on food, water, medicine and fuel, and to prepare for power outages.
Mr. DeSantis assigned 2,500 National Guard members to damage control efforts.
Several Florida municipalities, such as Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Tampa, have also started distributing sandbags to residents to help them protect their homes from the risk of flooding.
US President Joe Biden placed 24 of the counties in a state of emergency, unlocking federal aid.
“It's never too early to prepare,” tweeted Jane Castor, Mayor of Tampa.< /p>
After Fiona's damage
Hurricane Fiona caused death and destruction last week in the Caribbean, where at least seven people were killed, and Saturday on the Atlantic coast of Canada (two dead).
Fiona is now a post storm -tropical which weakens as it goes north.
In Canada, the province of Prince Edward Island announced one death on Sunday afternoon, while in the province of Terre Newfoundland, rescuers found the body of a 73-year-old woman floating in the water, swept away by the ocean on Saturday during the storm.
The 73-year-old woman lived in the small town of Channel-Port-aux-Basques, in the province of Newfoundland.
There, more than 20 houses were torn away by the raging ocean and 200 residents had to be evacuated, according to Mayor Brian Button. The victim had apparently taken refuge in his cellar when the floods invaded everything.
Some 320,000 people remained without power on Sunday in five provinces, Fiona having toppled trees and torn roofs. Hundreds of workers worked to restore power, while the military helped clear the roads.
“At the end of the day, it will be the storm that has caused the most damage we have ever had. seen,” commented Tim Houston, the premier of one of the hardest-hit provinces, Nova Scotia, on CBC News on Sunday. “The damage is immense”.
The hurricane had already killed at least seven people last week, including four in Puerto Rico, two in the Dominican Republic and one in Guadeloupe (France).