Hurricane Sandy Already a Cat 2, crosses Cuba
Hurricane Sandy slams into Cuba (CBS News)
MANZANILLO, Cuba Hurricane Sandy made landfall in southern Cuba early Thursday, just west of Santiago de Cuba.
The storm has maximum sustained winds of 114 mph, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said.
It added that Sandy, a Category 2 hurricane, was located just inland over southeastern Cuba and was moving north/northeast at 15 mph. Some weakening was expected as Sandy moved through Cuba, though it is expected to remain a hurricane as it heads through the Bahamas.Sandy toppled many trees and cut power throughout the city of Santiago. The storm passed to the west of the US Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay placing the dangerous NE quandrant of the storm over the base. The base is home to 5,500 people who were warned to prepare for the hurricane as it approached.
Strengthening Hurricane Sandy slams into Cuba (Reuters)
The eye of the storm came ashore just west of the city with waves up to 29 feet and a six-foot (2 meter) storm surge that caused extensive coastal flooding, Jose Rubiera of the Cuban weather service said in a television report.
Heavy rains were falling throughout the storm-stricken region, with forecasters predicting six to 12 inches for most areas and as much as 20 inches in isolated places.
Rubiera said Sandy had intensified rapidly as it neared land fueled by 88 degree (31 Celsius) waters on its way from Jamaica, struck earlier in the day by the storm when it was still at Category 1 on the five-step Saffir-Simpson hurricane intensity scale
Sandy battered Jamaica as a Category 1 hurricane killing one person in a rock slide as he attempted to reach his house. It is the first time a hurrricane made a direct hit on the Caribbean island since Gilbert in 1988.
Jamaica: Direct Hit From Hurricane Sandy (New York Times)
Howling winds and pelting rains from Hurricane Sandy lashed Jamaica’s precarious shantytowns on Wednesday, stranding thousands of travelers and downing power lines. It is the first hurricane to make a direct hit on Jamaica since Hurricane Gilbert 24 years ago, and it roared across the island on a course that was expected to take it over eastern Cuba. As of Wednesday night, only one person — a man who was crushed by a boulder that rolled onto his clapboard house — had been killed in Jamaica, but storm’s flash floods and mudslides threatened the island of roughly 2.7 million people, which is shackled by debt and a crumbling infrastructure and many of whose sprawling shantytowns are built on steep embankments.