Hurricane Dean leaves Jamaica, heads for Yucatan
Hurricane Dean skirted the South Coast of Jamaica Sunday and early Monday, prompting a state of emergency declaration in Kingston.
The hurricane is headed for a likely direct hit on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, but may possibly spare the Cayman Islands from its most severe impacts.
The storm passed some 20 miles off the coast of Jamaica Sunday with 145 mile per hour winds. Although there was not a direct hit, hurricane conditions still whipped Kingston and Montego Bay to the west as the storm moved parallel to the coast. Ports were shut down during the storm, and will remain closed Monday as authorities assess damage.
Air service is expected to resume in Jamaica Monday. However, the road between Kingston and the airport was reportedly under water and blocked by downed utility poles, according to preliminary news reports.
Meanwhile, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said at 5 a.m. today that Hurricane Dean is moving south of the Cayman Islands as a Category 4 hurricane with winds approaching 150 miles per hour. The hurricane center issued a hurricane warning for the coast of Belize and the East Coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. It is expected to hit there by Tuesday.
The storm could reach Category 5 status as it hits the Yucatan. It is expected to weaken when it makes land, but could continue as a Category 2 by midweek, now in line to reach the Port of Tampico.
On Saturday, the storm passed south of the Dominican Republic and Haiti, but still caused damage near the shore.
Friday night, the storm hit St. Lucia as a Category 2 hurricane, with winds approaching 110 miles per hour. But damage was not catastrophic, and by today the airport is open again.
A report in the Barbados Nation said the island was brushed by the hurricane Friday, and although beachfront property was damaged, there were no major problems reported from the storm.
There have been nine reported deaths from the storm.