Oct 25, 2012 / 8:17 pm
Hurricane Sandy lashed the central Bahamas on Thursday night with violent winds and torrential rains, after raging through the Caribbean where it caused at least 21 deaths and forced postponement of a hearing at the Guantanamo naval base on Cuba.
State media in Cuba said Sandy toppled houses, ripped off roofs and killed 11 people in the eastern provinces of Santiago and Guantanamo as it roared over the island as a Category 2 storm early Thursday. Nine deaths were reported in Haiti and one in Jamaica.
Meanwhile, forecasters warned that Sandy will likely blend with a winter storm to cause a super storm in the eastern U.S. next week whose effects will be felt along the entire Atlantic Coast from Florida to Maine and inland to Ohio.
Some weakening in Sandy was forecast during the next 48 hours, but it was expected to remain a hurricane for a couple of days.
By Thursday evening, the hurricane's centre was about 170 kilometres east of the Bahamas capital of Nassau as it spun between Cat Island and Eleuthera in the central Bahamas. The storm had maximum sustained winds of 160 km/h, down slightly from earlier in the day, and was moving north-northwest at 27 km/h.
Caroline Turnquest, head of the Red Cross in the Bahamas archipelago off Florida's east coast, said 20 shelters were opened on the main island of New Providence.
"Generally people are realizing it is serious," she said.
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