Hurricane Ian made landfall early Tuesday in western Cuba, lashing the island with rain and winds as it barreled north toward the Florida coast.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said in a 4:30 a.m. EDT (0830 GMT) update that Ian hit Cuba as a Category 3 storm as it continued to strengthen, with sustained winds of 125 mph (205 km/h).
Authorities in Cuba evacuated more than 50,000 people in Pinar del Rio province, the country’s main tobacco–growing region, ahead of Ian’s arrival, which was expected to bring flooding and heavy rainfall. The government also set up dozens of shelters in the island.
The hurricane is expected to strike Florida as early as Wednesday, possibly as a Category 4 hurricane.