At least 58 people died as Ike's winds and rain swept Haiti Sunday - and officials found three more bodies from a previous storm - raising the nation's death toll from four tropical storms in less than a month to 319. A Dominican man was crushed by a falling tree. It was too early to know of deaths on other islands where the most powerful winds were still blowing.
Ike's center hit the Bahamas' Great Inagua island, where the roofs of its two shelters both sprung leaks under the 135 mph winds. As the storm passed, people inside peeked through windows at toppled trees and houses stripped of their roofs.
"It's nasty. I can't remember getting hit like this," reserve police officer Henry Nixon said from inside a shelter holding about 85 people.
Great Inagua has about 1,000 people and about 50,000 West Indian flamingos - the world's largest breeding colony. Both populations sought safety from the winds and driving rain, with the pink flamingos gathering in mangrove thickets. Biologists worried that their unique habitat could be destroyed.
"There's a possibility that the habitat can't really be replaced, and that they can't find an equivalent spot," said Greg Butcher, bird conservation director for the National Audubon Society. "You might have a significant drop in the number of flamingos."
Todd Kimberlain, a meteorologist at the U.S. National Hurricane Center, said Ike reached land in eastern Cuba late Sunday night and was expected to remain over the island until Tuesday.
At 11 p.m. EDT (0300 GMT), Ike was a Category 3 hurricane with top sustained winds of 120 mph (195 kph). It was centered neasr near Cabo Lucretia, Cuba, about 135 miles (220 kilometers) east of Camaguey, and moving westward at 13 mph (20 kph).
The hurricane center predicted Ike's eye could hit Havana, the capital of 2 million people with many vulnerable old buildings, by Monday night.
State television broadcast images of the first damage in Cuba, showing a storm surge washing over coastal homes in the easternmost city of Bayamo. It reported that dozens of dwellings were damaged beyond repair.
An informal AP tally of figures being released by some individual eastern provinces indicated that at least 600,000 people had been evacuated in eastern Cuba by Sunday evening. Former President Fidel Castro released a written statement calling on Cubans to heed security measures to ensure no one dies when Ike hits.
Cuba's government said more than 224,000 people were being evacuated in the central-eastern province of Camaguey alone, where heavy rains were falling late Sunday.
Foreign tourists were pulled out from vulnerable beach resorts, workers rushed to protect coffee plants and other crops, and plans were under way to distribute food and cooking oil to disaster areas.
"There's no fear here, but one has to prepared. It could hit us pretty hard," said Ramon Olivera, gassing up his motorcycle in Camaguey.
More than 100 people waited in chaotic bread lines at each of the numerous government bakeries around town as families hoarded supplies before the storm.
On the provincial capital's outskirts, trucks and dented school buses brought about 1,000 evacuees to the sprawling campus of an art school.
Classrooms at the three-story school built on stilts were filled with metal bunk beds. The approaching hurricane brought a stiff breeze through the open windows.
Mirtha Perez, a 65-year-old retiree, said hardly anyone was left in her small town of Salome, located nearby.
"It's a huge evacuation," she said. "We are waiting and asking God to protect us and that nothing happens to us."
The first islands to bear Ike's fury Sunday were the Turks and Caicos, which have little natural protection from storm surges of up to 18 feet (5.5 meters).
The British territory's Premier Michael Misick said more than 80 percent of the homes were damaged on two islands and people who didn't take refuge in shelters were cowering in closets and under stairwells, "just holding on for life."
"They got hit really, really bad," Misick said. "A lot of people have lost their houses, and we will have to see what we can do to accommodate them."
In South Caicos, a fishing-dependent island of 1,500 people, most homes were damaged, the airport was under water, power will be out for weeks, and at least 20 boats were swept away despite being towed ashore for safety, Minister of Natural Resources Piper Hanchell said.
Tourism chairman Wayne Garland was text-messaging with two people in Grand Turk during the height of the storm. "They were literally in their bathroom because their roofs were gone," he said. "Eventually they were rescued."
Twenty-one of the Haitian victims, still unclaimed, were stacked in a mud-caked pile in a funeral home in the coastal Haitian town of Cabaret - including two pregnant women, one with a dead girl still in her arms. More than a dozen children were in the pile. All but one of the rest of the known deaths were in the Cabaret area, civil protection director Marie-Alta Jean Baptiste said. A victim of Ike was found in Gonaives on Sunday.
Heavy rains also pelted the Dominican Republic, Haiti's neighbor on the island of Hispaniola, where about 4,000 people were evacuated from northern coastal towns. One man was crushed by a falling tree.
Strong gusts and steady rains fell at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay in southeast Cuba, where all ferries were secured and beaches were off limits. The military said cells containing the detainees - about 255 men suspected of links to the Taliban and al-Qaida - are hurricane-proof. But the base was spared the strongest winds.
Where Ike goes after Cuba was hard to predict, leaving millions from Florida to Mexico worrying where it will strike.
"These storms have a mind of their own," Florida Gov. Charlie Crist said as tourists and then residents evacuated the Keys along a narrow highway.
In Louisiana, Gov. Bobby Jindal and New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin prepared for the possibility of more havoc only days after an historic, life-saving evacuation of more than 2 million people from Hurricane Gustav.
Off Mexico, Tropical Storm Lowell was moving northwest parallel to the coast with maximum sustained winds of 60 mph (95 kph). But the hurricane center predicted it will veer into the Baja California Peninsula late in the week.
Associated Press writers Ben Fox in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos; Mike Melia in Nassau, Bahamas; Jonathan Katz in Gonaives, Haiti; Alexandra Olson in Cabaret, Haiti; Anita Snow in Havana, Cuba; and Danica Coto and David McFadden in San Juan, Puerto Rico, contributed to this report.