Huge waves crashing onshore were the first sign that Hurricane Ike had made landfall in Cuba.
With 195 kilometre winds and heavy rains, Ike hit the northeastern coast of the Caribbean island 800 kilometres from the capital, Havana.
With Ike forecast to sweep across Cuba, hundreds of thousands of locals have battened down the hatches or been evacuated from their homes.
An informal tally of figures released by individual provinces suggests more than 600 thousand people had been evacuated in eastern Cuba alone by yesterday evening.
In Haiti, people took to their roofs to escape the rising floodwaters for the second time in a week as squalls from Ike killed at least 58 people.
All but one of the latest victims were from the Cabaret area north of the capital, Port-au-Prince.
Four storms have hit the country in less than a month and the death toll currently stands at 319.
The rising waters and strong currents mean aid agencies have struggled to reach people with little or no access to food and water for days.