Hurricane Sandy knocked down trees, clogged streets and killed at least three people in the Caribbean. The storm is expected to hit the U.S. East Coast over the weekend and into next week. Flooding, high winds and downed trees are of concern.
Hurricane Sandy swelled into a major threat to much of the U.S. East Coast on Thursday after lashing Cuba with heavy rains and tree-toppling winds and swirling through the Bahamas, U.S. forecasters said.
Strengthening rapidly after tearing into Jamaica and crossing the warm Caribbean Sea, Sandy hit southeastern Cuba early on Thursday with top sustained winds up to 110 miles per hour (177 kph) that left a trail of destruction, especially in the historic city of Santiago de Cuba.
Images on Cuban television showed downed trees, damaged buildings and debris-clogged streets in the communist-ruled island's second largest city, which suffered a direct hit when the storm came ashore in the early morning hours.
"Everything's destroyed in Santiago. People are going to have to work very hard to recover," Alexis Manduley, a resident of the 498-year-old city, told Reuters by telephone.
According to one Cuban radio report from the city of 500,000 people, about 470 miles (750 km) southeast of Havana, at least one person was killed in Santiago, bringing the Sandy-related death toll to at least three, including fatalities in Jamaica and Haiti.
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