Lenny Leaves Mess Behind

Residents waded through floodwaters, coped with power outages and sifted through the debris left by Hurricane Lenny, which pounded the eastern Caribbean with monster waves and torrential rains.

The storm killed at least nine people before drifting eastward into the Atlantic to die late last week. Lenny caused millions of dollars in damage to islands just entering the high tourist season, ravaging homes and boats, stripping beaches of sand, flooding hotels and roads, downing utility lines and disrupting communications.

There is post-hurricane high drama still underway offshore, CBS News Correspondent Jim Axelrod reports.

San Juan, Puerto Rico, is home to the U.S. Coast Guard station responsible for the Caribbean. For three straight days, personnel there have been responding round-the-clock to distress signals from boats caught at sea.

On Thursday, they rescued a St. Martin man who survived two days in a life raft buffeted by winds in excess of 100-mph winds and seas up to 30-foot high. He got out alive, but the Coast Guard said his companion died.

Coast Guard aircrews spotted the survivor while searching for two Americans who planned to abandon their battered sailboat for a life raft; the rescuers didn't even know the man had been missing.

As for the other two, Carl Wake, 43, of Bradenton, Fla., and Steve Righby, 54, of New York City, they were in Lenny's path off St. Croix when the hurricane's winds were up to 150 mph. On Friday, the winds and seas were too high for rescuers to search for the pair.

"Well obviously the first thing you want to do is help them," explains Commander Jim Munro, "and it's very frustrating when you can't."

As conditions improved, emergency officials from territories ranging from the U.S. and British Virgin Islands south to Grenada began assessing damage.

Federal Emergency Management Agency teams inspected damage in St. Croix, the hardest-hit of the U.S. Virgin Islands. The local government reported minor damage to hotels, mainly limited to beach erosion and water damage. The Ann Abramson pier in Frederiksted, a key cruise ship port, also was damaged. Airports in St. Thomas and St. Croix reopened Friday.

The low-lying British colony of Anguilla, which took the worst of Lenny's winds, had some coastal flooding, and some residents of the capital had to be rescued by boat. Utilities were down, but no injuries were reported, police said.

Neighboring British Virgin Islands reported moderate damage but no injuries.

Waves smashed at least four concrete homes on St. Kitts, which was hit hard by Hurricane Georges last year and flooded out by Jose last month, authorities said.

As the winds died down Friday, stunned residents of St. Maarten emerged from shelters to find dozens of roofless homes and knee-high floodwaters in the capital city of Philipsburg. The island was without electricity or water as some residents, walking with bundles of clothes, sought dry shelter.

n neighboring Saba, the airport tower was severely damaged, as were several structures.

The storm has caused havoc as far afield as South America. On Tuesday, it drowned two fishermen off Colombia's Caribbean peninsula, and its relentless rains destroyed half a coastal village, leaving 540 people homeless.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami said Lenny is unlikely to strike the U.S. mainland, but could bring heavy surf capable of eroding beaches in Florida hundreds of miles away.