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Storm Laura continues to hit Cuba with heavy rains. No deaths are reported

Tropical Storm Laura arrived in Cuba near Santiago de Cuba on Sunday night and continues Monday to bring heavy rains and flooding along the southern coast of the island.

At 9 am its center was 83 miles southeast of the city of Cienfuegos, in the center of the country. The storm has sustained winds of 62 miles per hour and could intensify as it moves over the warm waters off the Cuban coast, according to forecasts by the Cuban Institute of Meteorology.

All central provinces are in a “cyclonic alarm” phase. Until Monday morning, no deaths or major damage were reported.

Throughout the eastern part of the country, the local press reported power outages and many fallen trees. In Santiago, there are interruptions in the telephone service since Sunday night. Five inches of rain was reported at Guantanamo. Some rural communities in the mountains of Granma have been cut off due to rising rivers, according to the local newspaper La Demajagua.

Images shared on social networks showed strong penetrations of the sea in the coastal city of Baracoa, in Holguín, where some of its inhabitants sought refuge in the homes of relatives and neighbors on Sunday.

Firefighters extinguished two “large” fires at a school and a poultry farm in Santiago de Cuba, according to Radio Bayamo.

The government hastened evacuations in coastal cities and near rivers. Nine thousand people were evacuated in Cauto Cristo, a town in the eastern province of Granma near the Cauto river, the longest in Cuba. Another 400 people were evacuated in the coastal city of Santa Cruz del Sur in Camagüey, who took refuge in neighboring houses and a primary school.

This story will be updated.

Nora Gámez Torres studied journalism and communication in Havana and London. She has a doctorate in sociology and since 2014 has covered Cuban issues for the Nuevo Herald and the Miami Herald. It also reports on US policy toward Latin America. Her work has been recognized with awards from the Florida Society of News Editors and the Society for Professional Journalists.Nora Gámez Torres is the Cuba / US-Latin American policy reporter for the Nuevo Herald and the Miami Herald. She studied journalism and media and communications in Havana and London. She holds a Ph.D. in sociology from City, University of London. Her work has won awards by the Florida Society of News Editors and the Society for Professional Journalists.