HURRICANE IAN STRIKES CUBA, FLORIDA BRACES FOR WINDS, FLOODS

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Hurricane Ian tore into western Cuba on Tuesday as a major hurricane, with nothing to stop it from intensifying into a catastrophic Category 4 hurricane before it hits Florida on Wednesday.

Ian made landfall at 4:30 am Tuesday in Cuba’s Pinar del Rio province, where officials set up 55 shelters, evacuated 50,000 people, rushed in emergency personnel and took steps to protect crops in Cuba’s main tobacco-growing region.

The US National Hurricane Center said “significant wind and storm surge impacts” were occurring Tuesday morning in western Cuba.

After passing over Cuba, Ian was forecast to strengthen even more over warm Gulf of Mexico waters, reaching top winds of 140 mph before making landfall again.