Ian collapses the Caribbean country's energy infrastructure after pummeling its western regions for more than five hours.

Officials say the union will work through the night and early Wednesday to restore power.
Officials say the union will work through the night and early Wednesday to restore power. (Reuters)

Cuba's electrical grid has collapsed, leaving the entire country without power shortly after the passage of Hurricane Ian, which ravaged the western end of the island with violent winds and flooding.

Lazaro Guerra, technical director of the Electric Union of Cuba, said late on Tuesday that a failure in the national electric system, in part associated with the storm, had affected infrastructure, state-run media reported.

Guerra said the union would work through the night and early Wednesday to restore power. 

Ian pummeled Cuba's western regions for more than five hours early on Tuesday morning, before moving out over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

In the western city of Pinar del Rio, the AFP news agency footage showed downed power lines, flooded streets and a scattering of damaged rooftops.

"Desolation and destruction. These are terrifying hours. Nothing is left here," a 70-year-old resident of the city was quoted as saying in a social media post by his journalist son, Lazaro Manuel Alonso.

READ MORE: Millions urged to evacuate as Hurricane Ian draws near Florida

Massive evacuations

About 40,000 people were evacuated across Pinar del Rio province, which bore the brunt of the storm, local authorities said.

The US National Hurricane Center (NHC) said it expects Ian to gain strength in coming hours before hitting the west coast of Florida as an "extremely dangerous" major hurricane, potentially Category 4 on the five-level Saffir-Simpson scale.

Calls to heed evacuation warnings were echoed from local Florida officials on up to US President Joe Biden, who said Ian "could be a very severe hurricane, life-threatening and devastating in its impact."

In its latest bulletin, the NHC said to be prepared for "life-threatening storm surge, catastrophic winds and flooding" in the Florida peninsula.

READ MORE: Strengthening Hurricane Ian lashes Cuba en route to Florida

Source: TRTWorld and agencies