Sandy, which crossed Cuba and reached the Bahamas as a category 2 hurricane, was expected to maintain its category 1 storm status for the next few days.
Steven Russell, an emergency management official in Nassau, said docks on the western side of Great Inagua island had been destroyed and the roof of a government building was partially ripped off.
Sooner Halvorson, a 36-year-old hotel owner from Colorado who recently moved to the Bahamas, said she and her husband, Matt, expected to ride out the storm with their two young children, three cats, two dogs and a goat at their Cat Island resort.
"We brought all of our animals inside," she said, though she added that a horse stayed outside. "She's a 40-year-old horse from the island. She's been through tons of hurricanes."
On Great Exuma island, guest house operator Veronica Marshall supplied her only customer with a flashlight and some food before Sandy bore down. She said she was confident that she and her business would make it through intact.
"I'm 73 years old and I've weathered many storms," she said.
Tropical storm conditions were possible for Florida's southeastern coast, the Upper Keys and Florida Bay by this morning.
Hurricane Sandy was expected to churn through the central and northwest Bahamas by this afternoon and then head north toward the U.S. coast.
With storm conditions projected to hit New Jersey with tropical storm-force winds Tuesday, there was a 90 percent chance that most of the U.S. East Coast would get steady gale-force winds, flooding, heavy rain and maybe snow starting Sunday and stretching past Wednesday, U.S. forecaster Jim Cisco said.
In an announcement at the end of Cuba's Thursday night newscast, Cuban authorities said the island's 11 dead included a 4-month-old boy who was crushed when his home collapsed and an 84-year-old man in Santiago province.