Dean was already a powerful Category 4 storm as it raked the
While the storm’s center was expected to strike central
The Mexican resort city of
Florida Volynskaya, 24, of
“We just wanted to get out anywhere,” said Volynskaya. “We really didn’t want to be in a shelter.”
Though forecasts had shifted the projected track to the south, Cancun still could face tropical-storm-force winds — forecast to extend over an area of about 75,000 square miles, about the size of South Dakota — and local fishermen were taking precautions.
“We’re leaving. You don’t play around with nature,” Maclovio Manuel Kanul said as he pulled equipment out of his beachfront fishing shack near
“We still haven’t been able to recover from Wilma, and now this is coming.”
Hurricane Wilma ravaged
Dean — the first hurricane of the Atlantic season — bore down late Sunday on the Cayman Islands after battering Jamaica, but the vulnerable British territory said today it had been “spared the brunt of Hurricane Dean.”
In one Cayman shelter — the gymnasium of
“Whichever God you believe in, now is the time to bow your head and pray to him,” said Zemrie Thompson, the shelter coordinator. Those in the gym bowed their heads.
Dean’s eye passed some 100 miles south of the
Early today, Dean had maximum sustained winds of 150 mph, up from 145 mph Sunday, and could dump up to 20 inches of rain. Even if the hurricane continues a steady westward course toward
“Our mission is very simple. It’s to get people out of the kill zone, to get people out of the danger area, which is the coastline of Texas,” said Johnny Cavazos, chief emergency director of Cameron County, at Texas’ southern tip.
Police said officers got into a shootout with looters at a shopping center in the central Jamaican parish of Clarendon, but nobody was hurt. Curfews were in effect until this evening. Authorities also cut power on the island to prevent damage to the power grid.
The government set up more than 1,000 shelters in converted schools, churches and the indoor national sports arena, but only 47 were occupied as the storm moved in, said Cecil Bailey of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management.
As of 2 p.m. EDT today, Dean was centered about 330 miles southwest of
George Lee, mayor of the Portmore community near the Jamaican capital
“Too much crime in
Many tourists who did not get flights out took shelter at places like Sandals Whitehouse, a resort that has buildings capable of withstanding a powerful storm.
Trinice Tyler, a postal worker from
“I’m celebrating my 40th birthday today, and it’s going to be a birthday to remember,” she said.
There was also a hurricane warning in effect for
Associated Press writers Howard Campbell in Kingston, Jamaica; Mark Stevenson in Cancun, Mexico; Michael Melia in San Juan, Puerto Rico; Evens Sanon in Port-au-Prince, Haiti; Lisa Orkin Emmanuel in Miami; and Carley Petesch in New York contributed to this report.