Mexico prepares for Hurricane Dean – 21 Aug 2007

As Mexico battens down the hatches in preparation for Hurricane Dean’s arrival, Jamaica is already beginning to recover after it was hit by the storm over the weekend.

In the early hours of this morning – 11pm in Mexico – the hurricane was 150 miles off the coast of the country and was expected to make landfall around six hours later.

As it crossed the Gulf of Mexico, it strengthened from a category four to the most powerful category five storm, bringing with it 160 mph winds and storm surges measuring up to 18 feet.

Although the eye of the storm is predicted to miss the key tourist area of Cancun, instead hitting the less densely populated Mexico-Belize border, the resort will still be affected and already two thirds of tourists have fled. Many stayed overnight at the airport in a bid to fly home as soon as possible.

The Jamaica Tourist Board has reported much of the damage to the island was cosmetic as Hurricane Dean swept to the south of the island with a category four rating.

Montego Bay’s international airport has already reopened with two flights departing yesterday although Kingston airport is understood to have remained closed, largely due to access problems as opposed to damage to infrastructure.

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