NASSAU, Bahamas — Hurricane Sandy rolled out of the Bahamas on Friday after causing 40 deaths across the Caribbean, churning toward the U.S. East Coast.
The Category 1 hurricane toppled light posts, flooded roads and tore off tree branches as it spun through Cat Island and Eleuthera in the scattered Bahamas archipelago, with authorities reporting one man killed, the British CEO of an investment bank.
The death toll was still rising in impoverished Haiti, reaching 26 on Friday as word of disasters reached officials and rain continued to fall.
Officials reported flooding across Haiti, where 370,000 people are still living in flimsy shelters as a result of the devastating 2010 earthquake. Nearly 17,800 people had to move to 131 temporary shelters, the Civil Protection Office said.
Sandy was a Category 2 hurricane when it wreaked havoc in Cuba on Thursday, killing 11 people in eastern Santiago and Guantanamo provinces as its howling winds and rain destroyed thousands of houses and ripped off roofs. Authorities said it was Cuba's deadliest storm since July 2005, when category 5 Hurricane Dennis killed 16 people and caused $2.4 billion in damage.
Official news media reported Friday that the storm caused 5,000 houses to at least partially collapse while ripping the roofs off 30,000 others. Banana, coffee, bean and sugar crops were damaged.
Friday evening, Sandy was about 75 miles north of Great Abaco Island in the Bahamas and 400 miles south-southeast of Charleston, S.C. It was barely still a hurricane, with maximum sustained winds near 75 mph.