21 Dead in Caribbean as Sandy Churns Toward US

East Coast braces for 'nor'easter on steroids'

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 26, 2012 6:17 AM CDT | Updated Oct 26, 2012 7:50 AM CDT

(Newser) – Hurricane Sandy's death toll has reached 21 in the Caribbean as the storm hammered the Bahamas today, causing power outages and flooding. No deaths have been reported in the Bahamas, notes the AP. Last night, the storm weakened to category 1—where it should remain for a few days—but not before killing 11, including a baby, and destroying homes in Cuba; it was the worst storm there since Dennis in 2005, officials say. Winds reached 110 mph, notes Reuters. Nine others were killed in Haiti, and one in Jamaica.

This morning could see tropical storm conditions in parts of Florida. Most of the US East Coast faces a 90% chance of gale-force winds, intense rain, flooding, and perhaps snow from Sunday to Wednesday, a US forecaster says; New Jersey could be hit with tropical storm-force winds Tuesday. Damage could be escalated because it's arriving during a full moon, meaning tides are high. "It's almost a weeklong, five-day, six-day event," the forecaster notes. Power outages could go on even longer—possibly until Election Day, NBC News reports. "It could be a nor'easter on steroids," says a meteorologist. (Nice, but not as colorful as yesterday's "snor'eastercane" and "Frankenstorm" descriptions.)

An NOAA image taken Friday, Oct. 26, at 1:45 AM EDT shows Sandy moving NNW through the northern Bahamas with a broad cloud shield covering the southeastern Atlantic Basin into the northern Caribbean.
An NOAA image taken Friday, Oct. 26, at 1:45 AM EDT shows Sandy moving NNW through the northern Bahamas with a broad cloud shield covering the southeastern Atlantic Basin into the northern Caribbean.   (AP Photo/Weather Underground)
Soldiers an rescue workers patrol after the passing of Hurricane Sandy in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba, Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012.
Soldiers an rescue workers patrol after the passing of Hurricane Sandy in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba, Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012.   (AP Photo/Franklin Reyes)
Resident Antonio Garces tries to recover his belongings from his house destroyed by Hurricane Sandy in Aguacate, Cuba, Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012.
Resident Antonio Garces tries to recover his belongings from his house destroyed by Hurricane Sandy in Aguacate, Cuba, Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012.   (AP Photo/Franklin Reyes)
A man removes mud from his tap with flood water caused by heavy rains from Hurricane Sandy, Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012 in La Plaine, Haiti.
A man removes mud from his tap with flood water caused by heavy rains from Hurricane Sandy, Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012 in La Plaine, Haiti.   (AP Photo/The Miami Herald, Carl Juste)
A driver maneuvers his classic American car along a wet road as a wave crashes against the Malecon in Havana, Cuba, Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012.
A driver maneuvers his classic American car along a wet road as a wave crashes against the Malecon in Havana, Cuba, Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012.   (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)
Residents stand on a bridge that was destroyed in 2008 by Tropical Storm Gustav, while watching a river swell in the village of Kintyre, Jamaica, following Hurricane Sandy, Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012.
Residents stand on a bridge that was destroyed in 2008 by Tropical Storm Gustav, while watching a river swell in the village of Kintyre, Jamaica, following Hurricane Sandy, Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012.   (AP Photo/Collin Reid)
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