Hurricane Sandy leaves 21 dead in Caribbean, expected to hit Northeast Monday

Storm clouds fill the sky over Havana October 24, 2012.
reuters

Hurricane Sandy pounded the Bahamas with battering winds and rain on Friday, sweeping over the island chain after killing 21 people across the Caribbean and posing a menacing threat to the U.S. East Coast.

Forecasters warned the late-season storm is expected to combine with a polar air mass near the United States next week, potentially producing a highly unusual and potent storm that could wreak havoc along the U.S. East Coast.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center early on Friday issued tropical storm warnings for much of the Florida coast and tropical storm watches up through much of North Carolina.

Late Thursday, Sandy weakened to a Category 1 storm as it tore though sparsely populated low-lying southeastern islands in the Bahamas, knocking out power and blowing off rooftops of some homes.

Sandy’s torrential rains and heavy winds were blamed for the deaths of 21 people. The Cuban government said on Thursday night that 11 people died when the storm barreled across the island, most killed by falling trees or in building collapses in Santiago de Cuba province and neighboring Guantanamo province.

Haiti’s civil protection office said nine people died even though the country did not suffer a direct hit from Sandy, and one person was killed by falling rocks in Jamaica when the storm struck there on Wednesday.

The Cuban deaths were an unusually high number for the communist island which prides itself on protecting its people from storms by ordering mass evacuations.

Winds and rains generated by Sandy were also being felt in south Florida.

Early Friday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said Sandy was about 15 miles southeast of Great Abaco Island in the Bahamas and packing maximum sustained winds of 80 miles per hour (130 km per hour).

Sandy is forecast to remain a Category 1 hurricane as it continues to move over the Bahamas on Friday, sending swirling rains and winds across several hundred miles.

In the Bahamas, government officials warned residents to stay indoors until the storm passed. There were no immediate reports of casualties or serious injuries.

On Long Island, in the southeast corner of the Bahamas island chain, Joel Friese, general manager of the Stella Maris Resort, said Sandy was fierce as it cut across the island on Thursday.

“It was way stronger than we expected,” he said by telephone. “There are lots of downed trees and partial to heavy roof damage on some of the buildings.”

The Bahamas Electricity Corporation, which supplies power to most of the Bahamas, said Sandy had caused power outages on several islands.

Sandy was expected to move past the Bahamas by Friday evening and head north off the U.S. coast.

Forecasters say Sandy is expected to be pulled in by another storm system moving from the west, making it come ashore in the northeastern United States late Monday or early Tuesday and unleashing heavy rains, storm surges and possibly near hurricane-force winds.

Weather trackers say the hardest-hit areas could span anywhere from the coastal Carolinas up to Maine, with New York City and the Boston area potentially in harm’s way.

“There are many questions surrounding this hurricane and its forecast, but I find it important to convey that Sandy’s impacts will be widespread, no matter the location of landfall,” Jeff Masters, a hurricane expert at private forecaster Weather Underground (www.wundergournd.com), wrote in a blog.

He said a landfall by Sandy along the Mid-Atlantic coast could trigger “a billion-dollar disaster.”

Amid final preparations for the crucial November 6 presidential election, the storm could hit an area of New England where Hurricane Irene caused severe damage last year.

Unlike Irene, which caused billions of dollars in damage as it battered the Northeast in August last year, Sandy is forecast to be a weaker storm but will be moving slower than Irene, likely bringing more rain and increasing its potential for damage, weather forecasters said.

At $4.3 billion in losses, Irene ranks as one of the 10 costliest hurricanes, adjusted for inflation and excluding federally insured damage, according to the Insurance Information Institute, an industry group.

Sandy is expected to hit the United States during a full moon, increasing the flood potential since tides will be at or near their highest.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Protesters say new Met Opera is anti-Semitic

Protesters, including a former mayor and governor, gathered outside of the Metropolitan Opera on Monday afternoon to protest the opening of “The Death of Klinghoffer.”

Local

Brooklyn girl's death ruled a homicide

The New York City Medical Examiner has ruled the death of a Brooklyn toddler a homicide. Jeida Torres, 3, was found bruised and unresponsive Saturday…

Local

New York City continues to prepare for Ebola…

New York City continues to prepare for the possibility of Ebola. There have been numerous scares, but no confirmed cases. Representatives from about 150 unions…

Local

NYPD nabs alleged serial bank robber

  The NYPD has arrested a man they say is responsible for multiple Manhattan bank robberies this month. Police have arrested a Brooklyn man they…

Entertainment

We the Economy: Morgan Spurlock's new crusade

If Morgan Spurlock gets his way, you won't be able to avoid We the Economy, the series of 20 shorts films curated by the "Super…

Arts

3 Parody plays lampoon your childhood, adulthood and…

Whether you loved the source material or you're going in blind, these parody plays have something for every audience member. We rate three of NYC's hottest satirical shows.

Gossip

Who has more power: Harry Styles or Amal…

Amal Clooney comes in fourth on The Evening Standard's Most Influential Londoners list.

Music

#AskPaul McCartney reveals his love of American pop…

For an Englishman, Paul McCartney's pop culture tastes would fit right in stateside. The former Beatle (@PaulMcCartney) revealed that he has a real thing for…

NFL

John Idzik: 'We did a ton of background'…

Given John Idzik spent the previous five years with the Seahawks before he joined the Jets last January, there is a comfort level for the organization.

NFL

Jets add sizzle to struggling passing game with…

The Jets’ trade for Percy Harvin may have an air of desperation on the surface, but at 1-6 this season is hanging only by a thread.

NFL

Jason Pierre-Paul: 'We've got to regroup' during bye…

“We’ve got to regroup and figure out what went wrong,” said defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. “When we come back, we want to be a great team.”

NFL

Breno Giacomini: Media blowing up Golden Tate-Percy Harvin…

According to Breno Giacomini, the fight between Golden Tate and Percy Harvin during Super Bowl week was over by the time the lineman turned around.

Education

Is a 'gap year' after high school for…

It’s a familiar script that millions of students follow each year: Graduate high school and then immediately start college. But more and more students are…

Parenting

New news about Kate Middleton's pregnancy

The Palace released a statement about Kate Middleton's pregnancy.

Parenting

Cool book for kids: 'The Princess In Black'

"The Princess In Black" will change the way girls view princesses.

Wellbeing

Gabby Bernstein: The 3 questions I always get

For the last decade, I’ve been writing self-help books and preaching the Gospel of Gabby to audiences throughout the world. And no matter what country…