Just hours ago, Sandy increased to a category two storm. The National Hurricane Center said that just before daybreak, Sandy emerged off Cuba’s northeast coast moving north at 16 mph with maximum sustained winds of 105 mph towards The Bahamas.
According to media reports in Cuba, approximately 5,000 tourists at beach resorts in Holguin, a province of Cuba’s second largest city, Santiago de Cuba, were evacuated with 10,200 residents ahead of the storm. Another 3,000 in the low lying areas of Las Tunas, a neighboring province, were relocated before Sandy arrived.
At the moment, the Cuban government has discontinued the hurricane warning. There is still no news on whether the warning is still in effect for the Ragged Islands. Right now, schools, government offices, all airports, seaports and bridges are closed in the Bahamas and will remain this way through Friday.
So far, Sandy has plunged into Jamaica and eastern Cuba with heavy rains and winds that destroyed crops and ripped roofs off buildings.
The storm already claimed the lives of two in the region. One is the death of an elderly man in Jamaica who was killed when a boulder crashed into his house. The second death is a woman from southwestern Haiti who died in the town of Camp Perrin after she was swept away by a river.