Hurricane Dean is weakening and has been downgraded to a category two storm. As it hit Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula in the early hours of Tuesday morning it was a maximum category five cyclone, but the passage over land has slowed it down. Dean has claimed the lives of at least 11 people on its course from the eastern Caribbean, and triggered a month-long state of emergency in Jamaica, which felt the full force of 250-kilometer per hour winds.
More than 70,000 holidaymakers were evacuated from Mexico and neighbouring Belize as Dean approached. Locals though took it all in their stride… “The residents here were all very calm because they’re used to it. There would have been chaos in Europe. Here they just quietly packed up and got their homes and businesses ready” explained one Italian tourist.
Oil workers were brought ashore from their rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, where Dean is expected to pick up speed before landing again in the Mexican state of Veracruz. Meteorologists say by then it will have worked its way back up to category three.