Hurricane Sandy Kills Two Before Reaching Cuba
Hurricane Sandy made landfall Thursday just west of Santiago de Cuba in southern Cuba, where residents boarded over windows and cleared drainage gutters ahead of the strengthening storm that had roared across Jamaica and left two dead in the Caribbean.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Sandy, which had strengthened to a category 2 hurricane, was located over southeastern Cuba and moving north at 18 mph (30 kph), with maximum sustained winds of 105 mph (165 kph) and is expected to remain a hurricane as it moves through the Bahamas.
The hurricane centre said that Sandy would leave Cuba Thursday morning and would pass over the Bahamas later in the day. It might bring tropical storm conditions along the southeastern Florida coast, the Upper Keys and Florida Bay by Friday morning. Early Thursday, the tropical storm warning was extended northward as far as Flagler Beach and a tropical storm watch was issued for the northeastern Florida coast.
Sandy is expected to produce total rainfall of 6 to 12 inches across Jamaica, Haiti, Dominican Republic and eastern Cuba. ``These rains may produce life-threatening flash floods and mud slides, especially in areas of mountainous terrain,'' the centre said.
As Sandy crossed over Jamaica on Wednesday an elderly man was killed by a boulder that crashed into his clapboard house, police said. In southwestern Haiti, a woman died in the town of Camp Perrin after she was swept away by a river she was trying to cross, said Marie Alta Jean-Baptiste, head of the country's civil protection office.
Jamaican authorities closed the island's international airports and police ordered 48-hour curfews in major towns to keep people off the streets and deter looting. Cruise ships changed their itineraries to avoid the storm, which made landfall Wednesday afternoon near the capital, Kingston.
(The Associated Press)