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Hurricane Sandy gains force as it heads towards Jamaica, Cuba

Hurricane Sandy is the 10th hurricane this season, and forecasters say it could affect the Northeastern US next week.

Hurricane sandyEnlarge
Big waves caused by hurricane Sandy along the south coast of Santo Domingo on October 24, 2012. (Erika Santelices/AFP/Getty Images)

Hurricane Sandy gained force Wednesday as it made its way towards Jamaica, where people were taking shelter from the strong winds and rain. 

The Hurricane, the 10th this season, is currently at sustained winds of 80 miles per hour, and forecasters have warned of a major flood risk to low-lying areas near Kingston, Jamaica's capital, Reuters reported

Residents in those low-lying areas were being moved to shelters on Wednesday afternoon. 

Flash floods and mudslides are also a significant threat to the Island's 2.7 million inhabitants, especially in mountainous areas, Jamaica's meteorological service told the Associated Press

"We've gotten cut off here a whole heap of times," Sharon Gayle, a resident of the hilly community of Kintyre, told the AP. "But with a big nasty hurricane on the way, I'm really nervous. We're trying not to show it in front of the children though." 

More from GlobalPost: Tropical Storm Sandy predicted to hit Jamaica as hurricane

Sandy also has Florida, Haiti, and the Bahamas on tropical storm watch, and may also hit the eastern half of Cuba at hurricane level, the Washington Post reported.  

There is a chance that the storm could affect the mid-Atlantic and the Northeastern US next week, but may also just head back out to sea, the Post reported. 

Jamaica was last hit by the eye of Hurricane Gilbert in 1988, though winds from Hurricane Ivan in 2004 did cause significant damage to the island as well, BBC News reported. 

Then-Prime Minister Edward Seaga said that the worst-affected areas looked  "like Hiroshima after the atom bomb" after Gilbert made landfall. 

More from GlobalPost: Hurricane Sandy, Frankenstorm, Snowicane: Call it what you will — forecasters say US storm could be huge

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/121024/hurricane-sandy-gains-force-heads-towards-jamaica-cuba