The lights went out in Havana last night as Tropical Storm Paula swept across the island of Cuba, drenching the cigar city with heavy rains and wind gusts approaching 70 miles per hour and blacking out the city.
A source in Cuba said that power had been restored to a majority of the city of Havana by mid-afternoon.
The storm knocked down trees but Cuba was spared major problems. In 2008, back-to-back hurricanes caused some $5 billion in damages to Cuba, rendering 200,000 homeless and damaging thousands of casa del tabacos in the western part of the country, where Cuba's finest tobacco is grown. Cuban tobacco farmers, like farmers throughout the rest of the cigar world, do not plant during hurricane season to minimize the risk to their crops.
Paula, once a category two hurricane with sustained winds of 100 miles per hour as it spun off the coast of Cancún, had weakened to a low-pressure system and was centered off the coast of northern Cuba as this story was published.