Possible flooding in the Cauto plain, through which the Cauto River, Cuba’s longest river, passes is one of the greatest concerns in Granma before of the Hurricane Irma, category five on the Saffir-Simpson scale.
The Provincial Defense Council (CDP) directed the evacuation of the inhabitants in the area, where a great quantity of water hold in cases of heavy rains.
Marcelo Cid Zayas, director of the Provincial Meteorological Center in Granma, pointed out that because of Irma’s possible path and the large amount of water associated with this tropical storm, flooding in this area is a huge danger.
That zone was one of the most affected when Hurricane Flora in October 1963, when the Cauto became a type of ocean that ripped the lives of hundreds of people.
At that time, damages were higher because there were no reservoirs, but Granma currently has 11 dams, and Cauto del Paso is the largest, with storage capacity is of more than 330 million cubic meters.
At a meeting of the Provincial Defense Council, Cid Zayas said that landslides can also occur in the mountains, sea encroachments, desviation of the riverbeds, especially because they have not received large volumes of water for a long time.
Due to the threat of the powerful storm, with maximum sustained winds of 295 kilometers per hour, in Granma, a province in a cyclonic alert phase, several actions are carried out to ensure, first of all, the protection of the population, and then of material goods.
Stores, markets and other establishments extend their schedules until nine at night, to favor the people’s access to food.
Granma has not suffered the impacts of an intense hurricane since 2005, when the Dennis, category four, hit the coastal municipalities of Niquero and Pilón.
The most recent hurricane that affected Cuba was Matthew, in 2016, which caused serious material damages in Guantanamo province, especially in the municipalities of Baracoa, Imías and Maisí, where no one died, showing the effectiveness of the Cuban Civil defense system.