Published on 25 Oct 2012 Sections , ,

Hurricane Sandy hits the Caribbean with flash floods

Weather Presenter

Hurricane Sandy is currently lashing the Caribbean with torrential rain, damaging winds and flash floods that have left one person dead in Jamaica.

After hitting Jamaica, the storm intensified during Wednesday, reaching category two status over warm waters, before ploughing into Cuba later in the day.

In Jamaica, Sandy caused widespread power cuts leaving many homes without electricity. Torrential rain flooded streets with torrents of water, damaging homes and triggering mudslides.

One man was killed in a village near rural Kingston when a boulder fell from a hillside and struck his house, crushing him inside.

Jamaican authorities closed the island’s international airports and police put a 48-hour curfew in place in an attempt to deter looting.

As a result of the dangerous weather, cruise ships change their itineraries to avoid the storm, taking alternative routes.

Cuba

By the end of Wednesday, hurricane Sandy had reached Cuba, slamming into the south east of the country close to the city of Santiago de Cuba.

The eye of the storm came ashore just west of the city with 9 metre waves and a storm surge of around two metres, causing extensive coastal flooding.

Cuban officials said that 55,000 people had been evacuated ahead of the storm’s arrival, largely because of the flood risk.

Flights were suspended to and from eastern parts of the country, with bus and train services affected by an abundance of cancellations.

Tourists were forced to take shelter in their hotels and around 3,000 Cubans working on the coffee harvest in Santiago de Cuba were sent home.

Where next for hurricane Sandy?

The latest forecast from the National Hurricane Center in Miami predicts that Sandy will continue northwards across the Bahamas during Thursday and Friday.

Heavy rain will continue to be a concern, with 75-150mm, locally 300mm possible, giving a significant risk of flash flooding. Damaging winds and coastal storm surges are also expected.

Further ahead, the forecast has the periphery of the storm taking heavy rain into southern and central parts of Florida, before heading northwards, parallel to the east coast of the US.

Whilst still a lot of uncertainty with the detail, there is a possibility that the post-tropical remnants of hurricane Sandy could take some very stormy weather into the north east of the US later this weekend.