WeatherMatrix (Jesse Ferrell)

Radar images from the deadly tornado that hit Cuba

By Jesse Ferrell
1/28/2019, 2:34:45 PM

Monday, Jan. 29, 2019, 12:50 P.M.

Severe thunderstorms swept Cuba overnight, and have been blamed for at least three deaths there, while more than 170 other have been hospitalized, according to our news story, which has a high-resolution photo gallery.

Havana AP8 1/28


Cuba has its own weather radar, but doesn't provide archives. The U.S.' Key West NEXRAD radar is so far away that it's looking up around 11,000 feet when the beam goes over Havana, but it nonetheless yielded some interesting radar images. The first is reflectivity, showing extremely heavy rain, especially for that height.

Havana Radar 1/27/19 (1/3)


The second is a storm-relative velocity image, showing strong rotation (red meets green), which is confirmed by the GRAnalyst Rotational image.

Havana Radar 1/27/19 (2/3)


Havana Tornado Radar (3/3)


Tornadoes are likely not uncommon in Cuba, but like Florida they can happen year-round but are often weak. Mountains as high as almost any in the eastern United States, however, likely disrupt thunderstorm strength in some places, which could put them in a better place than Florida. Because of the government, there is almost no research indicating Cuba tornado climatology. The official statement from the Cuba Meteorological Service reads (loosely translated):

"An active line of severe local storms formed in front of a cold front crossed over the provinces from Pinar del Rio to Mayabeque and Havana in the early hours of the night and in its wake produced severe local storms, with the occurrence of gusts of wind more than 100 kilometers per hour, hail and a strong tornado that affected several municipalities of the capital. In San Juan and Martínez, pinar del Rio there were maximum gusts of up to 115 kilometers per hour."

Havana AP4 1/28


"In Casa Blanca, Havana, there were gusts of 101 kilometers per hour at 8 and 45 p.m. and up to 104 kilometers at 9 and 45 p.m. Preliminary reports indicate that a strong tornado occurred in the capital shortly after 8:30 at night and affected some municipalities and districts of the capital such as Diez de Octubre, Santos Suárez, Luyanó, Regla, Chivas distribution. The tornado produced a buzz or loud noise in its wake like a jet plane and caused the fall of trees, power lines, breakage of glass and aluminum doors and windows, and damage to roofs of houses is reported, some collapses and fall of fiber cement tanks on the roofs."

(AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

A truck is toppled against a home after a tornado in Havana, Cuba, Monday, Jan. 28, 2019.

(AP Photo/Michael Weissenstein)

People survey the damage left behind by a tornado in Havana, Cuba, Monday, Jan. 28, 2019.

(AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

A home's kitchen is exposed after a tornado ripped the roof off in Havana, Cuba, Monday, Jan. 28, 2019. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

(AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

A car overturned by a tornado lays smashed on top of a street pole in Havana, Cuba, Monday, Jan. 28, 2019. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

(AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

A man takes pictures of the disaster left behind by a tornado in Havana, Cuba, Monday, Jan. 28, 2019.

(AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

Zinc plates from the roofs of homes are wrapped around a tree after a tornado in Havana, Cuba, Monday, Jan. 28, 2019.

(AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

A piece of zinc metal that a tornado ripped from a structure lays over electricity lines in Havana, Cuba, Monday, Jan. 28, 2019.

(AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

A woman takes pictures of the disaster left behind by a tornado in Havana, Cuba, Monday, Jan. 28, 2019.


The line of storms earlier caused a 55-mph gust at a utility station in Key West, Florida, while a weak tornado was confirmed in Hialeah, near Miami. Here is a video showing high winds nearby:
 


This map shows the location of the local storm report, which was the tornado, along with the warning issued:

Miami Tornado 1/27 Location Map

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com

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WeatherMatrix (Jesse Ferrell)