Hurricane Dennis slams Cuba, minute by minute

The reporting in the comments section of Val’s blog is truly extraordinary, full of real-time news about the deadly and destructive Hurricane Dennis that has torn up Cuba. This is what the blogosphere is about, the minute-by-minute reporting on critical things from people at the scene, and in this case, doubly important because it is news from one of the most closed societies on earth, castro’s Cuba. Only North Korea is worse. We have never had hurricane news of this quality from Cuba, ever. Except on Val’s blog. I am awed!

I am putting up excerpts (with very light editing) for easy reading, and if anyone has news updates that seem to belong here, continue as before on the hurricane thread and I’ll add them here, or if you want, email me at ammorayleon at gmail dot com.

SUMMARY:

From CB, 4:39 p.m., July 8:

There’s no communication with certain neighbourhoods in Havana, just imagine the rest of the country. As Val says, their facing two tyrannies tonight: one is the brutal force of nature, the other one is the brutal force of state sponsored terror. I’d choose the first one of the two evils.

They are in my prayers, specially those in the most dilapidated areas who are going to suffer more. Wait till the water and the wind subdue, when the temperature rises and the materials start settling, I predict many old buildings are going to crumble under the increased weight of the wet materials and the contractions-dilatation of their materials and elements.

From Yuca, 4:57 p.m.:

Just got off Yahoo Messenger with a friend in Havana and my cousin in Matanza, so far Matanza seems to be getting a great deal of the storm, many homes are without phone or electricity, I think my cousin’s phone line was knocked out as he got offline in the middle of a coversation, but he is fine as I got word from my friend in Havana who called him for me.

Many are being evacuated from Matanza as fast as they can, some trees are down and there is some flying debris, but no one hurt as of yet (Thank God)

I may soon have photos of what’s going on during the storm, if not I will have deffinate photos after the storm has passed, if and when I get them I will forward them to Val to post if he wishes.

From Eleggua, 5:04 p.m.:

Two tyrants indeed, but one will be gone tomorrow.

Havana still has electricity, Cienfuegos seems to have been battered quite badly.

The tyrant that stays will blame it all on the tyrant that left.

From Yuca, 5:18 p.m.:

Apparently vacationers in Varadero have not all been evacuated, some have, many haven’t, rumor has it the government hasnt enough transport to get everyone (foreign & citizens) out of harm’s way, also, it is said many Cubans protested as a vacationer-filled bus passed them half-empty as it passed Varadero’s toll plaza.

Also,although Matanza isnt feeling the FULL effect (yet); it is expected they will tonight, but it was just reported to me the winds are strong and gaining stregnth within the area, strong enough to blow roofs off of houses, apparently some homes are roofless right now.

From Eleggua, 5:31 p.m.:

I don’t think they have to evacuate many vacationers in Varadero. They just take them to the safe hotels.

From Agueros Garces: 5:41 p.m.:

Reports are that the locals are furious because foreigners are being moved to safely in buses while they have to make do for themselfs. Wow– What a horrible situation.

From Yuca, 6:01 p.m.:

You know as I sit here talking to friends online from Cuba keeping up to date of what’s going on,one friend was asking me about what kind of supplies one goes for first here on the shelves.

I can’t think of anything else that Cubans grab first off the shelves if isn’t Vienna Sausages! …

My God, if I have to see another Vienna Sausage again,I am jumping off the Miami Herald Bridge! …

By the way, I told this to my friend in Cuba and he can confirm that is the exact same thing that Cubans go for in Cuba, but like he said, IF you can find them 🙁

Yuca reports, 7:05 p.m.:

Report in from Santa Clara, a friend in Santa Clara (Sixto) has sent me an email response to an email I sent him with questions.

Basically says they are feeling the winds with tons of rain falling, only thing he could see from his window is what appears to be (not 100% sure yet) is a downed powerline that was flaring up and sparking.

I emailed him back with other questions and no response as of yet, could be the power is out at this point.

Still able to be in contact with friends in Havana, Manzanillo (who didn’t get hit but did feel it with heavy wind & rain) and Pinar Del Rio, but in Pinar Del Rio lights are going on and off constantly.

From Eleggua, 7:11 p.m.:

Jovellanos got hit badly, Playa Larga may be completely devastated, Varadero will probably be spared, Dennis will hit Playas del Este directly.

I’m still in contact with Havana.

From Yuca, 7:13 p.m.:

Eleggua, any news on Matanza? I lost all communications with my cousin there, will appreciate any news.

From Yuca, 7:16 p.m.:

Any word from the interior of Matanza? or Versailles area?

From Eleggua, 7:25 p.m.:

No news from Matanzas but I’ll check… Jaguey Grande must be hit very badly.

From Robert, 7:32 p.m.:

Matanzas (city) will probably get the core of the storm. Dennis has “wobbled” a bit to the west in the last 2 hours, which means La Habana has a better chance of getting the worst part of the hurricane.

From Agueros Garces, 8:23 p.m.:

Our prayers and thoughts are with those in Cuba tonight. Madre mia Yemaya calma los mares y los vientos.

From Eleggua, 8:29 p.m.:

My contact in Havana says they are bracing for a direct hit now. He says electricity is off in most of Havana. Very heavy rain, evacuations along the Malec?n and upper floors of Vedado buildings, including Focsa, Melia Cohiba, Riviera and Capri hotels.

Things have gone very hectic in the last 2 hours, people were only given 10 minutes to pack.

From Yuca, 8:32 p.m.

From Matanza via Habana cell phone contact, cell phones seem to still be operational.

Matanza-Marina Area

My cousin has called my Havana friend and has told him of collapsed homes, some speculate residents of the homes were still weathering the storm inside their homes as their homes came crumbling down, as of right now they do not know if any loss of life has occurred or if anyone was still inside these homes. (I pray not)

Also, not 100% confirmed, it seems some young Cubans may be involved in looting government stores in the Plaza area of Matanza.

It is also said someone has committed suicide by plunging into the water off of the Calixto Garcia bridge in Matanza. (I hope not)

From Yuca, 8:36 p.m.:

Was just told earlier Cuban workers had been trying to board up Hemingway’s house but were told to stop all work and head for shelter, guess Old Ernest’s house may end up “The Old House IN The Sea”.

From Yuca, 8:57 p.m.:

Extensive damage in Cienfuegos.

My contacts in Playa and Miramar are now offline, not sure if power has gone out or not, but they have yet to get back online.

From CB, 8:57 p.m.:

TV cannot be seen in some of the neighborhoods of Havana, not even where there’s still electricity and generators….

From Yuca, 9:07 p.m.:

Matanza- boats have been capsized including a Cuban Coast Guard Cutter, a pier was also destroyed (dont know which one)

CB, where exactly is Playa Larga?

I have an aunt who lives in an area they call Playa in Matanza, is this the same area?

From Eleggua, 9:16 p.m.

No Playa Larga is on the south coast, not far from Playa Gir?n.

Hope Dennis swept away the “museum” (Note to readers: this is a reference to castro’s gloating Bay of Pigs “museum.” -ed.)

From Pototo, 9:19 p.m.:

Well I just stomached fidel on mesa redonda via shortwave. His stooges gave a province and city update (it was disgusting as they started every sentence with “comandante general”). It ranges from 10% to 90% outages and if they are admitting that then its got to be bad. fidel really sounded bad as he kept misquoting dates of the last big storm in 1932 (he said 1926 then 1933) then he asked questions of people who had just made a lengthy statement about what he just asked about. They said that phone, power, and water are out. They made mention of loss of life.

One in particular will probably be the rule than the exception as her roof collapsed when a tree fell on it. I’m sure that they were heading for cover as the show ended just a few minutes ago.

I need to know if anyone has updates on Cienfuegos and Trinidad. Also if you hear of anything in Placetas, Santa Clara, or Jaguajay. I’ll update as I am listening to Radio Habana Cuba via shortwave. If anyone’s interested I pick it up on 11.77 MHZ.

From Yuca, 9:22 p.m.:

Was told the sewers in Matanza are backed up and a possible main water line may have been busted.

From Yuca, 9:47 p.m.:

Here in South Miami/Pinecrest/Dadeland area lights keep flickering on and off once in a while, looking outside skies are black with a nice gust of wind blowing.

From FL Mom, 9:58 p.m.:

We just got out of the Keys today. 🙂

But look at this excerpt from today’s 10 a.m. entry on Weather Underground: “Lack of fresh water and electricity will be serious problems, and Cuba’s political stability could well be threatened by the scope of what is likely to be its greatest disaster in modern history.”

http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/show.html

One tyrant could end up blowing away the other!!

From Robert, 10:25 p.m.:

Center of Dennis is near Guines in Habana province. Looks more and more like Habana ciudad is going to get hit by the core.

From Kathleen, 10:27 p.m.:

This sounds like a complete disaster, I am praying for the people of Cuba.

From CB, 7:46 a.m. July 9:

No electricity in Havana yet. Phone is back in some places, very spotty. People are starting to come out to evaluate the damage. There were forced evacuations in certain areas of Old Havana, but I already know from people who managed to hide. I will be calling shortly my man in Old Havana shortly….

From CB, 8:01 a.m.:

I am typing as I am talking to my source. There was a forcible evacuation plan implemented yesterday in Old Havana. Military cars with loudspeakers were used to order people to get out of their houses many hid– and to board buses and trucks to take them to safety. My source’s opinon (and so is mine) is that it was done not for safety, but to control the masses and to not show to tourists and journalists the bleak conditions under which Cubans live.

Also, this move automatically puts all the “evacuees” under surveillance and isolation.

My source briefly wandered out last night and this morning. Last night it was blighted, with wind and rain, and no electricity. In my source’s opinion the worse is to come today when the sun starts shining again and the buildings start to settle, that’s when the danger of collapse is worse.

There were rumors of some building collapses but he doesn’t have any confirmation or image. He also thinks that people will start returning today, since the storm exited Cuba by the eastern beaches of Havana, leaving a trail of destruction in the coastal towns.

Now, in a personal slant, the great tradition of the Hurricane Party is alive.

Many people had them, they got together and partied a bit during the hurricane hours. And you know who the mocked. The Devil himself didn’t recogize the hurricane as an evil force on national radio and tv. Hey, they said, the evil force have been here for the last 46 years, this is actually a break from it!

From Terri, 12:15 p.m.:

Is there any news from Granma – Niquero???

I know there were some deaths and over 9 thousand homeless. Any more news????

From A.M. Mora y Leon, 1:19 p.m.

I think Matanzas may be one of the cities, besides Cienfuegos, where castro is building Hugo Chavez’s Venezuelan oil refineries.

From CB, 1:40 p.m.:

I was on the phone with my dear friend KillCastro till just now…

We were commenting how “telling” it is that cagastro is not issuing his usual “communiques” to tell Cubans and the world how great he is in facing the Nature forces.

Give me one minute to call my buddy in Old Havana again and he will tell me what this business is all about!

From CB, 1:45 p.m.:

No electricity… My friend has the old cell phone of his boss, and will have it till the end of the month when it will be cut off (his boss’s company was shut down, so now he is unemployed, his boss could take his Cuban family to Spain, the guy was born in Cuba, went as a child to Spain in the forties and back to Cuba a few years ago to develop a business, he became disenchanted when he knew what Cubans suffer on a daily basis)

He is telling me that it’s raining and that there are so many rumors about buildings that have collapsed but he hasn’t gone out since he didn’t show up for evacuation…. So, rain, wind, no official anything, and no phone or electricity.

Val! He says hello!!!!! I told him that I was writing here and he was really happy!!!!

From Ivan, 3:47 p.m.:

Hace una semana julio 1, habl? con mi hermano en Camaguey, por ?l me enter? de cosas muy interesantes que muchos no saben fuera de Cuba:

1- Las famosas arroceras (para cocinar el arroz) nunca han llegado a Camaguey, tampoco las cocinas electricas u ornillas elecricas. La ciudad de Camaguey usa todabia en sus instalaci?nes electricas el alambre No. 14 que se us? antes del 1959, por lo tanto si llegaran las ollas elecricas no se podrian usar ya que la mayoria de las casas no estan preparadas eleticamente hablando para usar una ornilla elecrica y una olla tambien electrica, y si todas las casas usaran ambas cosas al mismo tiempo. Las plantas actuales no podrian generar la electricidad suficientes para el consumo a?adiendole ademasen algunos casos algun otro efecto elecrico como el televisor o refrigerador Si ahora sin usar nada de eso hay grandes apagones, ?como ser?a si pudieramos usar “tama?os adelantos cientificos?”

From Pototo, 5:22 p.m.:

Ivan,

Great punto. Not only is the wire gauge unsuitable, but Cuba probably only has 110v running to those homes and they would have to run another leg to make it work. Also they would have to update their fuseboxes. So the bearded one will have to overhaul their electrical system to get those new toys to work. 14g would work for the rice cookers though. They just better make sure that they cook in the dark.

From Tony V, 9:13 p.m.:

Did Dennis kill the beard? That’s all I want to know.

From Carmen, 10:40 p.m.:

Got an email from “Raices” asking for donations (clothes, medicine) to send to Cuba after the hurricane…not to sound harsh and uncaring for the Cuban people; but my cousin in Sancti Spiritus just told me that all the donations of clothes that are send to Cuba by the Red Cross or any other humanitarian organizations,are not distributed or given to the people in Cuba, instead, they are sold once a month in special places called “Shopi-Trapo” HOW DO YOU LIKE THAT???

From Eleggua, 12:47, July 10:

“Derrotado el hurac?n mercenario
(Granma)

Propaganda can’t get anymore stupid than that.

By the way, did Dennis turn around at Playa Gir?n? Did I miss something?

How must it feel when you are clearing the rubble that once was your house and you need to listen to this BS?

From Mariana, 11:24 a.m.:

I spoke with my man in Havana last night. He reported that the area south of Las Tunas was destroyed. Power was supposed to come back on in Playa at midnight. Wonder if it did. At least I could get through by phone. It was 9:00 p.m. there, and the phones had come back an hour earlier.

From Yuca, 3:10 p.m.:

Confirmation: The person who was thought to have committed suicide (no official news coverage from Cuba), did in fact die, from what I am told, he was very unhappy that he has to report to the armed forces soon and instead of serving, he plunged to his death off of the Calixto Garcia bridge, may God save his soul.

I should have the man’s name soon.

Houses in Matanza that reportedly collapsed, didn’t, the roofs did come down, but there was no total house collapse, and no one was hurt, which is great news!

Getting mixed reports on Habana, some say not much damage was done, others say some but not too bad damage was done, only the expected damage as downed trees, powerlines and already-weak roofs were affected.

One small Lada was found upside down after Dennis’s winds tipped it over…

Thats all I have for now, no word from my friends in Cienfuegos, Santa Clara, Manzanillo as of yet, but will post as soon as reports come in, hopefully I will also have photos to share.

From Yuca, 3:16 p.m.:

From what I’ve been told La Habana stood strong against Dennis and is just fine with expected damages as trees and powerlines downed, some roof tops blown from already decaying houses and buildings.

Varadero is fine, high waves & winds made it for an uncomfortable vacation for tourists, but nothing serious to report besides the norm of trees and powerlines being downed.

Fish were found on the streets of La Habana that were quickly gathered by locals. (Eeeuw! And how very sad. Nature at its worst is kinder to Cubans than the monstrous castro. It provides fish to eat. -ed)

From Yuca, 4:23 p.m.:

Just in from a friend in Habana: Word from my family in Matanza.

“Hoy hable con tu t?a despu?s que me desconecte, me dijo que ellos est?n todos bien solo que a ella el cicl?n le llevo el techo de la cocina y parte del de su cuarto, que no te preocuparas que no paso nada grave y que te agradece mucho tu preocupaci?n te manda recuerdos, Roly”

Seems my aunt’s house sustained damages: roof blown off from the kitchen and part of the roofing from my aunt’s bedroom area.

Now this worries me for two reasons.

1. My aunt will NEVER tell you how bad things are in order for you not to worry so much.

2. My aunt’s house is HUGE, it’s been in the family for over 100 years. To say to me the kitchen roof is gone is like saying to me that half of the roofing on an average 3 bedroom home in Miami is gone!

Hopefully her roof when it was blown away did not injure nor damage anyone or anyone’s home. Also, I do not know if parts of the roof came down or what, but if it did (God I hope not) come down in my aunt’s bedroom I can imagine the family history that may have been erased or damaged, as her walls are lined with photos/documents/awards of our family dating back to 1865 and not to mention the highly sought-after Cuban & European art which ranges from as early as 1880-1950 that also line my family’s house. I hope they had taken everything down prior to Dennis’s visit to Matanza.

The living room was spared, where an over-1000 plate collection that also dates back over 100 years are hung in the living room, family room and dining room, but I do not know if any or all were damaged.

I mention these things because those are things that will most likely, no, definitely, be my family’s financial future when the time comes that they can sell the collections off, Sotheby’s will one day be very busy, and not just by what my family houses, but by what countless Cubans are still holding onto that is of great value. I have always said, the future financial stability for many Cuban families in Cuba will be that of what they hold, of the past.

But, one can re-build a roof. A family history would be very hard to replace!

WELCOME INSTAPUNDIT READERS. The thread continues on a posting above this one, too. There is info about getting aid to Cuba without going through the communist government, as well as photos from The Real Cuba and good additional coverage from Paxety. It’s all here.

UPDATE: I’m embarassed I didn’t see this earlier, this post from Robert, at 26th Parallel, is absolutely riveting. Read it here.

UPDATE: Miami Herald has another excellent series of damage reports here. Hat Tip: Robert.

UPDATE: FL Mom’s suggested link, to Weather Underground’s Wunderblog is a great read. Except for one clanking note about Cuba’s “excellent” civil defense system – these notes above here show a different picture – it’s sharp and insightful and worth reading here.

UPDATE: My own analysis of this Cuban hurricane phenomenon is on American Thinker here.

UPDATE: Steve at Hog on Ice has an extraordinary essay on what Florida can do to minimize the impact of these storms. It’s full of concrete suggestions from someone who’s on the ground and who’s looked around. It’s not explicitly Cuba-related but it’s about hurricanes and castro would do well to read it, not that he will. It’s so good it needed to be linked.

Update:The Real Cuba has a compilation of Dennis/Cuba related photos.

One Final Update: I’d like all that have read through this entry with all the posts and comments to please read this.

7 thoughts on “Hurricane Dennis slams Cuba, minute by minute”

  1. Confirmation: The person who was thought to have commited suicide (no official news coverage from Cuba),did in fact die, from what I am told he was very unhappy that he has to report to the arm forces soon and instead of serving,he plunged to his death off of the Calixto Garcia bridge, may God save his soul.

    I should have the mans name soon.

    Houses in Matanza that collapsed,didnt,the roofs did come down,but not a total house collapse,no one hurt though,which us great news!

    Getting mixed reports on Habana,some say not much damage was done,others say some but not to bad damage was done, only expected damage as down trees,powerlines and already weak roofs were effected.

    One small Lada was found upside down after Dennis’s winds tipped it over…

    Thats all I have for now, no word from my friends in Cienfuegos,Santa Clara,Manzanillo as of yet,but will post as soon as reports come in,hopefully I will also have photos to share.

  2. Just in from a friend in Habana: Word from my family in Matanza.

    “Hoy hable con tu t?a despu?s que me desconecte, me dijo que ellos est?n todos bien solo que a ella el cicl?n le llevo el techo de la cocina y parte del de su cuarto, que no te preocuparas que no paso nada grave y que te agradece mucho tu preocupaci?n te manda recuerdos, Roly”

    Seems my aunts house sustained damages,roof blown off from the kitchen and part of the roofing from my aunts bedroom area.

    Now this worries me for two reasons.

    1. My aunt will NEVER tell you how bad things are in order for you not to worry so much.

    2. My aunts house is HUGE,been in the family for over 100 years,to say to me the Kitchen roof is gone is like saying to me that half of the roofing on an average 3 bedroom home in Miami is gone!

    Hopefully her roof when it gone blown away did not injure nor damage anyone or anyones home,also I do not know if parts of the roof came down or what,but if it did (God I hope not)come down in my aunts bedroom I can imagine the family history that may have been erased or damaged,as her walls are lined with photos/documents/awards of our family dating back to 1865 and not to mention the highly sought after Cuban & European art which ranges from as early as 1880-1950 that also line my families house,I hope they had taken everything down prior to Dennis’s visit to Matanza.

    Living room was spared,where an over 1000 plate collection that also dates/stems back over 100 years are hung on the living room,family room and dining room,but I do not know if any or all were damaged.

    I mention these things because those are things that will most likely,no,deffinately, will be my families financial future when the time comes when they can sell the collections off, Sotheby’s will one day be very busy, and not just by what my family houses, but by what countless Cubans are still holding on to that is of great value,I have always said,the future financial stability for many Cuban families in Cuba in the future will be that of what they hold, of the past.

    But,One can re-build a roof,but a family history would be very hard to replace!

  3. While I sit here and hope for the best to all of Cuba and it’s people,I feel somewhat ashamed that I have not expressed my concerns for those in Haiti who have also suffered from loss of life and damages.

    My condolences go out to the Haitan families that suffered a loss and while I pray for Cuba tonight,I shall also pray for Haiti and it’s people.

    God Bless

  4. Spoke to family in Habana. Says that she lost power, water, gas, and there is no food to be had, but says that she’s alright. Amazing,to be in those conditions and not realizing that she’s not alright. Pretty soon death will be no big deal, but I guess that part of the Triunfa de la Revolucion. I was told by someone in Habana that they are okay, but that the eastern half of the island is a disaster. Coming from a Cuban in Cuba that description means a whole lot.

  5. has anyone heard news from the encrusjada area or villaclara province,can’t get threw on phone lines. any news would be greatly appreciated

  6. Please, does anyone have informations about the situation in Trinidad and Placetas, Santa Clara. My family lives there, and I can’t get any news from them.

  7. If any one knows info on how bad South Matanzas got hit please let me know. On my travels in the spring i met a few people and have yet to make contact with them. Email me at burton_sno_chick69@hotmail.com , It would be greatly appreciated!
    My heart is with the Cubans.

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