Cuba struck by Hurricane Ian, leaves 1 million residents without power and streets flooded

About 50,000 Cubans were evacuated from low-lying coastal areas ahead of Hurricane Ian

More than 1 million Cubans were left without power on Tuesday after Hurricane Ian struck the western tip of the country as a category 3 storm around 4:30 a.m.

Photos showed mangled power lines, smashed roofs and flooded streets as residents emerged from their homes. 

Cuba was already dealing with an economic crisis that has caused rolling blackouts throughout the country. 

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Western Cuba is expected to receive 6 to 12 inches of rainfall, with the potential to produce flash flooding and mudslides through Thursday, according to the National Hurricane Center. 

About 50,000 Cubans were evacuated before the storm from low-lying coastal areas vulnerable to flooding and storm surge, which was projected to be 4 to 6 feet in some areas. 

Hurricane Ian was in the southeastern Gulf of Mexico about 250 miles south of Sarasota, Florida, as of 3 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon. 

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The National Hurricane Center forecast puts the storm hitting somewhere between Tampa Bay and Sarasota on Wednesday. 

Reuters contributed to this report.