Hurricane Sandy slams into Cuba

Hurricane Sandy, strengthening rapidly after crossing the warm Caribbean Sea, slammed into southeastern Cuba early on Thursday with 105 mph winds that cut power and blew over trees across the city of Santiago de Cuba.

A Cuban television reporter, reporting by telephone from the communist island’s second largest city, held the phone up to a window so viewers could hear Sandy’s roaring winds that he said had left the city “completely dark” and created a “very tense” situation.

He said the Category 2 storm had toppled many trees across the city of 500,000 people situated some 470 miles southeast of the capital Havana. The National Hurricane Center said in Miami at 5 am EDT, Sandy, with maximum sustained winds of 105 mph, was preparing to move off Cuba’s northeastern coast. The eye of the storm came ashore just west of the city with waves up to 29 feet and a six-foot (2 meter) storm surge that caused extensive coastal flooding.

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