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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Hurricanes are a way of life in South Florida and for our neighbors in Cuba.

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Cuba is a country of 11 million people, with over 2 million living in the city of Havana.  In some ways, it’s a city captured in time with cars from a half century ago with even an occasional bicycle carriage. But in other ways, it’s a city that’s had to keep up with weather technology.

Western Cuba sees some of the highest number of hurricane hits in the entire Atlantic basin.  Because of that yearly threat of a hurricane, communication and coordination is essential between the National Hurricane Center and the regional forecast centers around the Caribbean.

Click here to watch Craig Setzer’s report. 

One senior hurricane specialist in Miami has a long history with the main hurricane forecaster at the Institute of Meteorology in Havana. They were classmates in college.

Click here to view Craig Setzer’s trip to Cuba picture gallery 

Dr. Jose Rubiera in Havana has been forecasting hurricanes since the 1980’s and stresses the atmosphere doesn’t know political boundaries and hurricanes don’t need a visa to travel from Cuba to the United States.

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“Since I was a boy, I was listening to my grandpa talking about hurricanes. October was the month of hurricanes and it is something like folklore.  It is something inside the culture of Cuba,” said Rubiera.

Dr. Lixion Avila in Miami said there is a rich scientific history of hurricanes in Cuba and can cite rules Cubans developed in the 1930’s that apply to forecasting even today.

“All the books they have, all the little rules, I always talk about when I go to AMS meetings. The new generation,  the new kids come out with the new rule, I pull out a book and say that was done in Cuba in 1930,” said Avila.

Both hurricane forecasters stress that communication and cooperation between the two countries has been and will continue to be the key to creating effective hurricane warnings that help save lives.

“We have been cooperating forever, always. There has never been a problem between the United States and Cuba in terms of weather. We exchange the data. We coordinate advisories, and that even happened during 1962, during the nuclear missile crisis,” said Avila. “A hurricane  that goes through Cuba most likely will affect the United States.”

What about the next hurricane threat?  Will the Cuban people listen and prepare?

“I would say that they respond very, very well because when you say to people that they should evacuate because there is a danger of flooding or strong winds, they do their best.  Sometimes they don’t want to go to shelter. They go to a friend’s home,” said Rubiera.

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“I hope that we don’t have any hurricanes this year that affect Cuba or us, but if a hurricane comes, we are ready to work together as usual,” said Avila.