Hurricane Dean has been battering the southern coast of Jamaica where a 48-hour curfew has been declared. A man was reported missing after falling trees hit his house. Local media said 17 fishermen and women were stranded on a small island chain in the sea, south of Kingston. The pounding waves and howling winds are also threatening parts of Mexico. People are stocking up on basics and trying to protect their homes.
Currently a powerful Category 4 hurricane, Dean could reach potentially catastrophic Category 5 strength when it pounds the country later today or tomorrow. It has already been blamed for at least seven deaths on its run through the Caribbean, bringing winds of 230 kilometres per hour.
The Dominican Republic has made Dean’s acquaintance. The eye of the storm stayed south of Hispaniola, the island it shares with Haiti. Nonetheless, it proved deadly there and landslides destroyed large numbers of homes in both countries. Dean is the first hurricane of what is expected to be an active 2007 Atlantic storm season.