21 Dead in Caribbean as Sandy Churns Toward US
East Coast braces for 'nor'easter on steroids'
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Oct 26, 2012 6:17 AM CDT
Updated Oct 26, 2012 7:50 AM CDT
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)

(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.)

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