Mexicans are battening down the hatches as Hurricane Dean threatens to wreak havoc there. Computer models predict that the category four hurricane could pick up strength to a maximum category five as it sweeps across the Caribbean. The cyclone – with sustained winds of nearly 240 kilometres per hour – has already claimed at least nine lives further east. Locals have been trying to stock up on food in readiness.
But one woman said: “If they already know that this is going to happen every year, the first thing they should do is prepare their shops. Why do they sell pencils and notebooks when what we need is food?”
Forecasters believe the storm will track westwards, threatening Mexico’s Yucatan peninsular. Oil companies have begun evacuating more than 13,000 workers from offshore platforms. Jamaica has already felt the power of what meteorologists are calling an “extremely dangerous” hurricane.
Power companies switched off supplies as winds battered the southern coast. There were mudslides, buildings were damaged, and large low-lying areas were flooded. There are also storm warnings in force in the Caymans, Cuba, Haiti and Belize.
Tens of thousands of holidaymakers in the region are trying to catch flights out, to escape the devastation.