Tropical Storm Ian to hit Cuba and become a hurricane

Tropical Storm Ian is seen near the coast of Cuba in this satellite image taken September 25, 2022. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)/Handout via REUTERS

(Reuters) – Tropical Storm Ian was on Sunday barreling toward western Cuba, where it is expected to soak the Caribbean island with heavy rainfall and trigger storm surges as it turns into a hurricane on Monday, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Forecast to begin rapidly strengthening later Sunday, storm Ian was about 570 miles (917 km) southeast of the western tip of Cuba, with sustained winds of 50 miles per hour (80 km per hour), the NHC said.

The Cuban government has issued a hurricane warning for the Cuban provinces of Isla de Juventud, Pinar del Rio and Artemisa.

“Life-threatening storm surge and hurricane-force winds are expected in portions of western Cuba beginning late Monday,” the NHC said.

Storm Ian is also forecast to produce heavy rainfall, flash flooding and possible mudslides in areas of higher terrain, especially over Jamaica and Cuba.

By mid-week the storm could cause flooding across the Florida Keys and Florida peninsula, NHC added.

(Reporting by Drazen Jorgic in Mexico City; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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