Hurricane Sandy brought rain, gusty winds, high seas and strong rip currents to Central Florida, causing minor damage along the coast.
Power outages challenged Florida Power and Light workers in Volusia County, where 3,340 families were without electric. About 310 customers lost power in Brevard. 116 outages were reported in Altamonte Springs. Orlando had about 198 outages.
Torrential rain made it difficult for drivers to see the road. Numerous weather-related accidents were reported.
Several trees were toppled in Brevard and Volusia counties, with one demolishing a car, damaging a boat and downing a power pole in the yard of a home in the 600 block of Mulberry Street in Daytona Beach.
Winds as strong as 55 mph were recorded at Patrick Air Force Base in Brevard County, with swirling outer bands dropping more than an inch of rain on parts of the coastline.
"It's in, it's out," said Local 6 meteorologist Troy Bridges, referring to the rain. "The storm will impact the northeast U.S. for the early part of the workweek, likely making landfall anywhere from Washington to New York City."
Ten-foot seas, with waves expected to reach 20-feet later Friday, brought several onlookers to Central Florida beaches, including Robbie Fricks, who said he drove more than three hours to boogie board in the ocean.
"I might as well jump in if I'm here," he said. "There was a lot of tugging (from rip currents), for sure."
"I wasn't born crazy," said another onlooker who stayed out of the rough surf.
In Volusia County, beach driving has been closed through Sunday.
Strong winds blew a fence gate into the ocean off Daytona Beach and toppled a rotted tree in Mims, but no injures were reported.
Brevard Public Schools were closed Friday as Sandy continued to trek north, and Brevard and Volusia counties canceled high school football games.
Extracurricular activities scheduled Friday were also canceled in Brevard County. Activities will be rescheduled by the individual schools.
Students scheduled to take the ACT at Palm Bay High School on Saturday are encouraged to contact the ACT for directions about taking the test.
In Volusia County, schools were open Friday. However, all athletic activities, events and field trips scheduled for Friday and Saturday were canceled.
Sandy weakened a bit as she lashed the central Bahamas late Thursday with violent winds and torrential rains. Earlier, she raged through the Caribbean, causing at least 21 deaths and forcing the postponement of a hearing at the Guantanamo naval base on Cuba.
Early Saturday, the storm was about 120 miles north of Great Abaco Island in the Bahamas and 375 miles south-southeast of Charleston, S.C. It was just above the threshold for being a hurricane, with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph, and was moving north at 7 mph.
By late Thursday, Sandy had slowed to a category 1 hurricane, but forecasters warned that it will likely blend with a winter storm to cause a super storm in the eastern U.S. next week whose effects will be felt along the entire Atlantic Coast and inland to Ohio.
Some further weakening in Sandy was forecast during the next 48 hours, but it was expected to remain a hurricane.
State media in Cuba said Sandy toppled houses, ripped off roofs and killed 11 people in the eastern provinces of Santiago and Guantanamo as it roared over the island as a category 2 storm early Thursday. Nine deaths were reported in Haiti and one in Jamaica.
Caroline Turnquest, head of the Red Cross in the Bahamas archipelago off Florida's east coast, said 20 shelters were opened on the main island of New Providence.
"Generally people are realizing it is serious," she said.
Power was out on Acklins Island and most roads there were flooded, government administrator Berkeley Williams said. He said his biggest concern was that a boat filled with basic supplies for the island had to cancel its trip until next week.
"Supplies were low before, so you can imagine what we are going through now," Williams said.
On Ragged Island in the southern Bahamas, the lone school was flooded. "We have holes in roofs, lost shingles and power lines are down," said Charlene Bain, local Red Cross president. "But nobody lost a life, that's the important thing."