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Crews in Cuba are working to restore power to millions Wednesday after Hurricane Ian slammed into the western region with high winds and dangerous storm surge, causing an island-wide blackout.

The entirety of Cuba was left without power after Ian made landfall as a Category 3 hurricane just southwest of La Coloma in Pinar del Río province early Tuesday morning.

The powerful hurricane was expected to dump up to 16 inches of rain and trigger landslides and flash flooding in the western region, prompting evacuation orders for thousands of residents.

After the storm advanced, floods covered fields and trees were uprooted in San Juan y Martínez, a town in Pinar del Río, images from state media Cubadebate show.

Thousands of Cubans evacuated

The life-threatening conditions that Hurricane Ian inflicted on Cuba prompted authorities to evacuate more than 38,000 residents from their homes in Pinar del Río province, according to state news channel TelePinar.

Adriana Rivera, who lives in Spain, told CNN that she had not been able to contact her family who live in Pinar del Río since Tuesday morning.

“They didn’t expect the hurricane to be this strong,” Rivera said. “I hope they’re okay. The uncertainty is killing me.”

The last time Rivera spoke to her family, including her mother, sister, cousin and nephews, they told her they would seek shelter on the second floor of their house because the first floor was flooding. One of his nephews also recorded videos of the flooded house.

Mayelin Suárez, a resident of Pinar del Río, told Reuters the storm made it the darkest night of her life.

“We almost lost the roof of our house,” Suarez said. “My daughter, my husband and I tied him up with a rope so he wouldn’t fly away.”

Pinar del Río, known for growing Cuba’s rich tobacco, also suffered from the fall of fences and the destruction of the Robaina tobacco farm, according to photos published by state media.

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