KINGSTON, Jamaica — Hurricane Sandy's howling winds and rains lashed precarious shantytowns, stranded travelers and caused rivers to rise dangerously Wednesday as it roared across Jamaica on a course that would take it on to Cuba and then possibly threaten Florida.
At least one person was killed in nearby Haiti after being swept away by a rushing river.
In some southern towns on Jamaica, several crocodiles were caught in rushing floodwaters that carried them out of their homes in mangrove thickets. One big croc took up temporary residence in a family's front yard in the city of Portmore.
By Wednesday evening the storm's eye had crossed Jamaica and emerged off its northern coast near the town of Port Antonio, meteorologists said.
It was the first direct hit by the eye of a hurricane on Jamaica since Hurricane Gilbert 24 years ago, and authorities closed the island's international airports and police ordered 48-hour curfews in major towns to keep people off the streets and deter looting. Cruise ships changed their itineraries to avoid the storm, which made landfall five miles east of the capital, Kingston.
Flash floods and mudslides were a threat for this debt-shackled tropical island of roughly 2.7 million inhabitants.
— Associated Press