After touring the devastated neighborhood of Regla before dawn, Cuban leader
Guanabacoa, another working class neighborhood that sits on the opposite side of
But the entire city was affected by heavy rains and high winds as a cold front moved across
Luis Antonio Torres Iríbar, president of the
An intense tornado hit Bejucal in
Officials from the
An F4 tornado packs winds of 207 mph to 260 mph and can easily launch vehicles into the air and level even well-constructed homes.
While cold fronts often bring high winds and coastal flooding in
As the tornado bore down on Regla,
"When I saw that, I immediately entered the house," she said. "My husband thought it was thunder, but I told him no. I assure you it was a red ball. I thought it was the flare from the oil refinery, but I realized it was moving."
In an interview with the Cuban media, Torres said that in some neighborhoods "the impact has been severe... it has profoundly affected institutions, homes in our territory, especially in the municipality of Regla."
Much of the housing stock in Regla was already in deteriorated condition before the tornado and in some dwellings entire floors and walls collapsed.
The fierce storm crumbled homes, downed power lines, blew out windows, overturned cars and buses, tossed metal roofing crazily on to balconies and splintered large trees that came crashing down on homes and vehicles.
Pillars, balconies, and other building adornments came crashing into the streets, which were clogged with piles of rubble Monday. But Cubans were out and about, dodging downed power lines and incapacitated vehicles.
The entire Malecon seaside highway was closed to vehicular traffic Monday afternoon and other roads also were closed for safety reasons and to help recovery operations.
In the hardest hit areas, electrical, gas, water and telephone service had all been cut, said Torres. A water main that collapsed after the power outage also was affecting water supplies far from the scene of the tornado, which touched down in 10 de Octubre and exited in Guanabacoa.
The Associated Press reported the tornado sucked out windows in the seven-story
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