Tropical storm Elsa hits eastern Cuba
The Institute of Meteorology (Insmet) reported that the province of Guantanamo, in the extreme east of Cuba, was experiencing heavy rainfall and gusts of wind, while in nearby Santiago de Cuba, heavy rains were also reported.
In Holguin, a northeastern province, some 78,000 people had been evacuated ahead of the storm.
"The rains will be strong and intense in some locations, mainly in mountainous areas and on the southern coast," warned Insmet.
The storm, which is moving at 20 kilometers per hour with winds of 100 kilometers per hour, has its center about 216 kilometers southeast of Cabo Cruz in the eastern province of Granma.
The Civil Defense decreed an alarm for 11 of the 15 provinces of Cuba, announcing measures to reduce the risks of the impact of the storm.
The storm, which had reached sustained winds of 120 kilometers per hour to be considered a Category 1 hurricane, weakened slightly Saturday morning and became a tropical storm.
Elsa was the first hurricane of the season in the Caribbean, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, although tropical storms Ana, Bill, Claudette and Danny previously formed in the area.