Intense rainfall and hailstorms hit Cuba, leaving 260 000 customers without power

Intense rainfall and hailstorms hit Cuba, leaving 260 000 without power march 2024

Intense rainfall and hailstorms struck western Cuba on March 22, 2024, causing widespread damage, including downed trees, power outages, and flash floods. The National Electricity Union reported over 260 000 users without electricity in provinces such as Pinar del Rio, Artemisa, Mayabeque, Matanzas, and Havana.

A severe storm hit the western region of Cuba on Friday afternoon and evening, March 22, 2024, leaving more than 260 000 customers (or about 780 000 people) in the provinces of Pinar del Rio, Artemisa, Mayabeque, Matanzas, and Havana without electricity. Specifically, in Havana, four municipalities have over 120 000 homes affected by the outage.

Places in Havana recorded more than 300 mm (11.8 inches) of rainfall in just 24 hours, according to Radio Ciudad Habana.

satellite image of cuba goes-east west at 1600 utc on march 23 2024
Image credit: NOAA/GOES-East, RAMMB/CIRA, The Watchers. Acquired at 16:00 UTC on March 23, 2024

To address the extensive damage, which includes downed trees, fences, public boards, and power lines, the National Electricity Union (UNE) has deployed electrician crews from the island’s center, particularly from Ciego de Avila and Villa Clara provinces, to the affected western areas. These teams are working in solidarity with local workers to repair the damages caused by the storm.

Significant wind gusts between 66 to 75 km/h (41 to 47 mph) were recorded during the storm. In addition, unusual hailstorms left large amounts of ice across many areas, drawing considerable attention from local residents.

The Meteorological Institute of Cuba’s Forecasting Center has issued warnings of continued adverse weather conditions. Starting from the early hours of Saturday, March 23, showers, rains, and thunderstorms were expected, potentially becoming heavy and intense in some localities in the West. Moreover, an unusual cold front was forecasted to hit the western region on Saturday afternoon, bringing additional showers, rains, and thunderstorms. This weather phenomenon is expected to move towards the central provinces and weaken by Sunday, March 25.

Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel, together with other Cuban authorities, evaluated the storm’s aftermath, reporting a total of 26 landslides, the evacuation of 148 individuals to state-run shelters, and 762 citizens who sought refuge at the homes of relatives and friends.


1 Lots of damage in Western Cuba due to rain storm – Prensa Latina – March 23, 2024

2 Cuban President assesses storm damages in Havana – Prensa Latina – March 23, 2024

3 Eléctricos avileños apoyan recuperación en La Habana (+ video) – RCH – March 24, 2024


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