SOMETCUBA Bulletin

Volume  6  Number 1

January 2000


Minimum chronology of big nature disasters occurred on Cuba in the XX century

Chronology

Cyclone of the Five Days

category

SS-3

date

October 13th to 17th 1910

affected provinces

Pinar del Río / La Habana / Island of Youth

barometric minimum

960 hPa

wind speed

183 km/h (e)

main feature

Flooding

material damages

not exactly quantified

human loss

700 death (e)

synopsis

Flooding, extraordinarily extensive, was consequence of rainfall persisting over 6 days in a row, due to the trail of the hurricane that, after crossing over the west end of Cuba, made a loop to the NW of the province of Pinar del Río. All crops – particularly tobacco- and rural housing were destroyed and cattle was decimated to a high degree. The case of large amount of heads of cattle dragged and drowned in the flooding was repeatedly cited.


Rescue at Havana

 

Hurricane of 1924

category

SS-5

date

October 18th to 19th 1924

affected provinces

Pinar del Río / Island of Youth

barometric minimum

916 hPa (not registered over Cuba)

wind speed

250 km/h (e)

main feature

destruction caused by dynamic effect of the wind

material damages

not exactly quantified

human loss

90 death (e)

synopsis

This hurricane crossed over the Peninsula of Guanahacabibes at the West End of Pinar del Río, and severely damaged tobacco crops. It affected even the most robust buildings on the zone and destroyed the entire communications infrastructure over the West half of the province. It seriously affected five ships of large size and sunk many smaller vessels, mainly dedicated to fishing.


Tower of the radiotelegraph station at La Fé, twisted and torn down by the strength of the winds

 

Cyclone of 1926

category

SS-4

date

October 20th 1926

affected provinces

Island of Youth / La Habana / Pinar del Río / Matanzas

barometric minimum

939 hPa

wind speed

196 km/h

main feature

seven hours over Havana

material damages

destruction caused by dynamic effect of the wind and storm surge

human loss

about 100 million pesos (e)

synopsis

600 death (e)
 

It seriously affected the West part of the country, particularly the capital city. The strength of the wind demolished crops and noticeably affected the industrial infrastructure of the city. It sank a large amount of fluvial vessels and a great many among those anchored at the harbor. Thousands of houses were destroyed and tens of bodies dragged out to sea.


Palm tree gone through by a wooden beam

 

Earthquake of Santiago de Cuba

date

February 3rd 1932

material damages

80% of buildings at Santiago de Cuba were affected; 120 replicas were registered within a year.

human loss

13 death y 200 injured

 

 

Hurricane of Santa Cruz del Sur

category

SS-5

date

September 9th 1932

affected provinces

Camagüey / Ciego de Ávila / Las Tunas

barometric minimum

915 hPa (not registered over Cuba)

wind speed

240 km/h (At Nuevitas, Camagüey)

main feature

storm surge

material damages

not exactly quantified

human loss

3 033 death and thousands injured and affected

synopsis

It constitutes the greatest natural disaster of the XX century in Cuba. It mainly affected buildings on the province of Camagüey, but coastal facilities on the south coast were completely devastated. This hurricane produced a 6 m storm surge at Santa Cruz del Sur and other locations on the south coast of Camagüey. On this village alone it caused over 2500 death.


Town of Santa Cruz del Sur after the pass of the hurricane

 

Tornado at Bejucal

category

F-4

date

December 26th

affected provinces

La Habana

barometric minimum

not registered

wind speed

>220 km/h (e)

diameter

400 m

extension of damages

7 km

main feature

destruction caused by dynamic effect of the wind

human loss

20 death y 250 injuried

synopsis

This phenomenon caused great havoc on Bejucal, a rural town at the province of Havana. Its unforeseen condition and unusual violence gave it great relevance. Several tens of houses were completely destroyed.

 

Cyclone of 1944

category

SS-4

date

October 17th-18th 1944

affected provinces

Island of Youth / La Habana / Pinar del Río

barometric minimum

not determined (937 hPa at the periphery)

wind speed

198 km/h (sustained) 262 km/h (maximum) at Casa Blanca

persistence of wind speed above 90 km/h

18 hours over Havana

main feature

destruction caused by dynamic effect of the wind and storm surge

material damages

40 million pesos (e)

human loss

310 death

synopsis

It produced huge havoc to the agriculture over the province of Havana and the easterly half of Pinar del Río, especially on the forestall wealth of the region. Penetrations of sea on the South coast of Havana (6 m at some locations) were extensive. The shore village "El Cajío" disappeared beneath the waves. At some places the sea reached 12 km inland.


View of the coast village of Cajío after the disaster

 

Cyclone Flora

category

SS-2

date

October 4th-8th 1963

affected provinces

Guantánamo / Granma / Santiago de Cuba / Holguín / Las Tunas / Camagüey / Ciego de Ávila

barometric minimum

not registered

wind speed

200 km/h (maximum)

rainfall

2 025 mm (accumulate) 735 mm over 24 h (October 15th)

main feature

flooding and landslides

material damages

extraordinary to agriculture y las buildings

human loss

1 150 death and tens of thousands affected

synopsis

The catastrophe caused by this hurricane affected the whole easterly region of the country. The trail of the meteor over Cuba, quite slow and irregular, caused intense and prolonged rainfall that made rivers overflow. This turned valleys temporarily into extensive lakes. All crops and cattle vanished.

 

Sprout of local severe storms on March 1983

date

March 16

affected provinces

West of the country

wind speed

180 km/h

main feature

rainfall, tornadoes lineal gusts, hail, coastal flooding,

material damages

affected housing: 563; evacuated: 4 501

human loss

2 death, 99 injured


Penetrations of sea by the Havana mole

 

Annex

Comparison between some natural disasters produced by tropical cyclones over Cuba on the latest 15 years

  KATE GEORGES IRENE
Date

Nov.18th-21st, 1985

Sep.23rd-24th, 1998

Oct.13th-15th, 1999

Death toll 4 5 4
Evacuated 365 000 556 672 228 067
Affected housing 65 000 60 475 28 066
Affected provinces 7 13 2
Affected crops

9444600 ha.

211157 ha.

218849 ha.

Main event wind rainfall rainfall

Conclusions


Bulletin author: Alejandro Bezanilla
Copyright © 2000 Cuban Metorogical Society 
Last modified: March 08, 2000
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