This photo shows the intensity of Hurricane Ian. (Reuters Photo)
Authorities in Florida have ordered 2.5 million people to evacuate before Hurricane Ian hits the US state. The US National Hurricane Centre said "significant wind and storm surge impacts" were occurring on Tuesday in western Cuba. Ian's sustained top winds were 205 kmph.
The powerful hurricane has left a trail of destruction and caused a widespread blackout in Cuba. Ian hit Cuba's western regions for more than five hours early Tuesday morning, before moving out over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, the Insmet meteorological institute said.
The storm damaged Cuba's power network and plunged the island into darkness, leaving it "without electrical service," state electricity company Union Electrica said on Twitter.
As it heads towards Florida, people living there have been posting images and videos of the changing weather in the state.
A Twitter user posted his photo on the social media platform saying it chows Ian's rain bands. She also prayed for the safety of people living there.
Some people are, however, enjoying their time before leaving Florida. This photo shows a man wakeboarding behind truck driving on flooded streets.
About 40,000 people were evacuated across Cuba's Pinar del Rio province, which bore the brunt of the storm, local authorities said. (AFP Photo)
The US National Hurricane Center (NHC) said it expects Ian to gain strength before hitting the west coast of Florida on Wednesday as an "extremely dangerous" major hurricane. (AFP Photo)
Warnings have been issued US President Joe Biden too, who said Ian "could be a very severe hurricane, life-threatening and devastating in its impact."
The Pentagon said 3,200 national guardsmen had been called up in Florida, with an additional 1,800 coming later. And Tampa International Airport suspended operations from Tuesday evening.