Hurricane Sandy hammers Cuba: Is Florida next? (+videos)
Hurricane Sandy hit Cuba Thursday as a Category 2 hurricane. Flash flood warnings were issued. Hurricane Sandy is expect to hit the Bahamas later today. Sandy could pass by southeastern Florida by Friday.
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In Santiago, Cuba's second largest city, tourist hotels prepared by getting generators ready and closing off some outdoor spaces and pools. Guests were being kept informed, but there were no evacuations other than from the beach resorts. Heavy rain was already falling late Wednesday night.Skip to next paragraph
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"We're well prepared for the storm," said Mayte Cuesta, an employee of the Hotel Melia Santiago. "It will affect us, but we don't think there is any danger."
As Sandy crossed over Jamaica on Wednesday an elderly man was killed by a boulder that crashed into his clapboard house, police said. In southwestern Haiti, a woman died in the town of Camp Perrin after she was swept away by a river she was trying to cross, said Marie Alta Jean-Baptiste, head of the country's civil protection office.
Jamaican authorities closed the island's international airports and police ordered 48-hour curfews in major towns to keep people off the streets and deter looting. Cruise ships changed their itineraries to avoid the storm, which made landfall Wednesday afternoon near the capital, Kingston.
In some southern towns on Jamaica, several crocodiles were caught in rushing floodwaters that carried them out of their homes in mangrove thickets. One big croc took up temporary residence in a family's front yard in the city of Portmore.
Stranded business travelers and a smattering of locals rode out the hurricane in hotels clustered along a strip in Kingston's financial district. Some read prayer books or novels, while others watched movies or communicated with loved ones on computers.
Cris Hopkinson, a Toronto woman who was on a business trip, said she hoped to catch a flight off the island Friday once the stormy weather cleared.
"For now, I'm just hoping that the glass in the windows doesn't shatter from the winds," Hopkinson said in the dining room of the Courtleigh Hotel.
About a mile away in the rough neighborhood of Grants Pen, where shops have been ransacked in the past during storms, a number of young men ignored the curfew, riding on bicycles or walking in small groups in the steady rain.
Cecile Graham, a mother of two teenagers, said she was worried about the possibility of burglaries or looting at the small markets and shops that line the main road.
"I hope that all the police are out and we won't have the looting that has taken place before," she said.
Far out in the Atlantic, Tropical Storm Tony posed no threat to land. The storm had maximum sustained winds of about 45 mph (75 kph) and was moving east-northeast at 23 mph (37 kph). Its center was 835 miles (1,345 kilometers) west-southwest of the Azores.
Associated Press writers Paul Haven and Andrea Rodriguez in Havana, Evens Sanon in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and David McFadden and Howard Campbell in Kingston, Jamaica, contributed to this report.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.