Eleven people died as Hurricane Sandy pummeled Cuba on Thursday, state media reported.
Nine deaths occurred in Santiago de Cuba province and two bodies were recovered in Guantanamo state, national media reported, citing civil defense authorities.
Cuban President Raul Castro will travel Friday to Santiago de Cuba, the country's second largest city, to survey the damage.
More than 3,000 buildings were damaged in eastern Cuba, state television reported.
"I lost an upstairs room and part of my roof. There are trees down all over the place. Everyone is in shock. We have never had a storm hit like this," said a woman named Dulce, a doctor in the city of Santiago.
Residents in Santiago spent Thursday assessing the extent of the damage. There was no electricity, and very few people had working phones, Dulce said.
Heavy rain in Cuba brings with it potential health risks. Flooding over the summer in Granma province contaminated wells, leading to a cholera outbreak, the first Cuba had experienced in a century. The same province was hit hard by Sandy.
In the Bahamas, as Olivia Jorjani and her mother were trying to watch the World Series game between power outages, tree branches in Nassau started to break and fall, and parking lots began to flood.
It was just a matter of time before the lights went out again, and "then we will play gin by candlelight," the iReporter said from her home on New Providence Island.
Bahamians and their guests hunkered down Thursday night as Sandy, a Category 2 hurricane, tore through the islands with 100 mph wind and the potential for up to 12 inches of rain.
New Yorker John Trudden was staying at Club Med on San Salvador Island, celebrating a friend's birthday with 10 buddies.
He said they will be confined to the hotel, which gave them food and drink to take to their rooms, until 8 a.m. Friday, when officials expect most of the storm to have passed over.
Before Sandy arrived, Nassau resident Stephan Rolle wasn't overly worried.
It is a "small storm" with "mediocre wind," he said.
Rolle, 29, waited for 40 minutes in line at a grocery store to purchase nonperishable goods and bread. He moved the potted plants and emptied part of his family's pool to make room for the rainwater.
Sandy may not be a Category 5 monster, but "we take it seriously, and we just want to make sure we are comfortable," he said.
As of 8 p.m. ET, the eye of the storm was 105 miles (170 kilometers) east of Nassau, sparing the Bahamas' largest city the worst part of the storm.
"I don't think that it's going to do significant damage. Think there could be some debris, but in Nassau things are not as bad as they may be in the outer islands," CNN iReporter Cynthia Russell, an administration manager, said.
Along the U.S. East Coast, residents were told to be wary headed into the weekend.
CNN meteorologist and severe weather expert Chad Myers said Sandy could have a bigger impact than Irene did last year, when it glanced off North Carolina before plowing into the Northeast.
"This could be like the 'Perfect Storm' 21 years ago," he said of the potential damage. "It depends on where it hits."
The "Perfect Storm" was the result of a nor'easter and Hurricane Grace combining into a one storm. In this case, a system approaching from the west is expected to interact with Sandy. To what extent is the question to be answered in the next four days.
For now, Sandy is proving to be a windfall for surfers familiar with tamer tides. Even hundreds of miles away, the storm kicked up powerful surf off Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Jason Russo, a visitor from Connecticut, couldn't resist jumping in.
"I went in the water, I did about three somersaults ... strong rip current," he told CNN affiliate WSVN.