Cuba is expected to miss the worst of Hurricane Maria, which is slamming into Puerto Rico Wednesday. The latest models show the Category 4 hurricane turning north before it even reaches Haiti. Here is the updates on Hurricane Maria, which is hitting less than two weeks after Hurricane Irma.
The 8:00 a.m. Wednesday forecast from the U.S. National Hurricane Center shows Maria turning north after it strikes the Dominican Republic side of Hispaniola on Thursday morning. By Saturday, Maria is predicted to reach the Bahamas. It will remain at least a Category 3 Hurricane by the time it reaches the Bahamas and will continue to weaken as it moves further north. It’s still too early to tell if Maria will ever make landfall in the U.S. or if it will continue turning away.
Cuba was not mentioned at all in the 8 a.m. NHC public advisory. There is still a Hurricane Warning in effect for the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, as well as Puerto Rico, parts of the Dominican Republic, Turks & Caicos and the Southeastern Bahamas.
The Weather Channel’s 10-day forecast shows highs in the upper 80s for the rest of the week, as well as chances of thunderstorms in Havana.
It’s a good thing for Cuba that Maria will not strike the island, which is famously well-prepared for hurricanes. The New Yorker notes that Hurricane Irma was the first Category 5 hurricane to hit the island since 1937 and ravaged the island for three days. Irma made landfall on September 8.
On September 18, The Miami Herald reported that the Cuban government launched a rebuilding program for Hurricane Irma relief and offered to pay for 50 percent of the cost of construction materials for Irma victims. They can request low-interest, long-term loans. The government also said it will take over interest payments for those who completely lost their homes or their homes’ roofs. Ten deaths in Cuba were blamed on Irma.