MANZANILLO, Cuba - Sandy is expected to remain a hurricane as it continues to hit Cuba and moves through the Bahamas.
Forecasters say Hurricane Sandy made landfall Thursday just west of Santiago de Cuba in southern Cuba, where residents boarded over windows and cleared drainage gutters. The storm left two dead in the Caribbean.
The National Hurricane Center says the storm hit Cuba as a Category 2, with maximum sustained winds of 114 mph.
Cuban state media reports that the government, known for its quick response to natural disasters, announced the evacuation of about 450 tourists from beach resorts near Santiago.
The 18th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season is expected to pass to the west of the U.S. naval base at Cuba's Guantanamo Bay.
Forecasters say it's likely Sandy will produce tropical storm conditions along the southeastern Florida coast, the Upper Keys and Florida Bay by Friday morning. A tropical storm watch is in effect for the area.