HAVANA, Sept. 7 (Xinhua) -- Hurricane Irma, a powerful category 5 hurricane, continued to move through the Caribbean on Thursday with a speed of 285 km per hour and expected to impact Cuba's north coast and southeastern Bahamas in the next 12 to 24 hours.
According to Cuba's weather service, Irma was located Thursday morning just northern coast of Cuba and would continue to move along that path throughout the day.
Cuba's Civil Defense declared a hurricane warning on Wednesday for the eastern provinces as well as the central territories of Ciego de Avila and Villa Clara.
"State agencies, economic entities and social institutions of the provinces that are in the alert phase must comply with the measures provided for in their respective disaster reduction plans," reiterated the Civil Defense in a statement.
Tourists vacationing in the island's northern area have already been evacuated or returned home earlier as these small territories would be hardly hit by hurricane Irma.
In the island's eastern provinces, hundreds of local people have been moved from coastal areas to inland and homes have been protected to diminish the damages that could be caused by the storm's winds.
In Havana, which expects to be hit by strong storm by Saturday, people made long lines at stores to buy water and other nonperishable items.
The last hurricane to hit Cuba was Matthew in October 2016, which destroyed over 9,000 homes and properties but claimed no lives in the easternmost province of Guantanamo.
Irma has already left a wake of destruction in the Caribbean, killing at least 10 people and leaving nearly a million without power as it moves over the north coast of the Dominican Republic on Thursday.