Hurricane Sandy blamed for 39 deaths (VIDEO)


Big waves caused by hurricane Sandy along the south coast of Santo Domingo on October 24, 2012.


Erika Santelices

Hurricane Sandy has been blamed in the deaths of at least 39 people in the Caribbean.

According to the Associated Press, state media in Cuba said Sandy destroyed houses and killed 11 people in the eastern provinces of Santiago and Guantanamo early Thursday. Twenty-five deaths were also reported in Haiti and two in Jamaica. 

Police in Puerto Rico said a man in his 50s was swept away Friday by a swollen river in the southern town of Juana Diaz.

"Everything's destroyed in Santiago. People are going to have to work very hard to recover," Alexis Manduley, a resident of the Santiago, told Reuters by telephone.

While the storm has weakened to a category one hurricane, it is still expected to do significant damage in the US.  

According to the National Weather Service, as Sandy heads north, an "unusual merger" of weather systems may take place that could ramp up its intensity. Sandy is expected to collide with a high pressure system from Canada and and a strong jet stream coming from the Gulf of Alaska, the Post-Standard said.

Forecasters at the Miami-based US. National Hurricane Center told Reuters that the hardest-hit areas could span anywhere from the coastal Carolinas up to Maine. The forecasters added, "Regardless of the exact track of Sandy, it is likely that significant impacts will be felt over portions of the US. East Coast through the weekend and into early next week."

Maryland, Virginia and New York declared states of emergency Friday in anticipation, and New York Transit shut down.

The International Space Station had the best view of Sandy. NASA took this video from the station at 12 p.m. CDT Thursday:

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