MANZANILLO, Cuba (AP) — Hurricane Sandy blasted across eastern Cuba on Thursday as a Category 2 storm and headed for the Bahamas after causing at least two deaths in the Caribbean. It should reach the waters off the coast of North Carolina Sunday.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Sandy had emerged of Cuba's northeast coast around dawn and was moving north at 18 mph (30 kph), with maximum sustained winds of 105 mph (165 kph). It was expected to remain a hurricane as it moves through the Bahamas.
The 18th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season passed well west of the U.S. naval base at Cuba's Guantanamo Bay, where pretrial hearings were being held for a suspect in the deadly 2000 attack on the destroyer USS Cole off Yemen. But it intermittently knocked out power to some of the 5,500 people living on the base. Officials said there was no threat to the 166 prisoners.
The hurricane center said that Sandy would likely still be a hurricane as it passes over the Bahamas later in the day. It also might bring tropical storm conditions along the southeastern Florida coast, the Upper Keys and Florida Bay by Friday morning.
Far out in the Atlantic, Tropical Storm Tony was weakening and 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.