Hurricane Sandy on path toward E. Coast

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NASSAU, Bahamas -- Hurricane Sandy rolled out of the Bahamas Friday on a path toward the East Coast after causing 40 deaths across the Caribbean.

The Category 1 hurricane toppled light posts, flooded roads and tore off tree branches as it charged through Cat Island and Eleuthera in the scattered archipelago. Authorities reported one man killed -- a British chief executive of an investment bank who fell from his roof while trying to repair a window shutter.

The death toll rose to 26 in impoverished Haiti as word of casualties reached officials and rain continued to fall.

Joseph Edgard Celestin, a spokesman for Haiti's civil protection office, said some people died trying to cross storm-swollen rivers. Officials at a morgue in Grand Goave said a mudslide crashed through a wooden home on Thursday, killing a mother and four children.

Sandy was a Category 2 hurricane when it wreaked havoc in Cuba on Thursday, killing 11 people in eastern Santiago and Guantanamo provinces. Authorities said it was Cuba's deadliest storm since July 2005, when Category 5 Hurricane Dennis killed 16 people and caused $2.4 billion in damage.

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Official news media reported Friday that the storm caused 5,000 houses to at least partially collapse while ripping the roofs off 30,000 others. Banana, coffee, bean and sugar crops were damaged.

One death each was reported in Puerto Rico and Jamaica. -- AP

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