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Heavy rains continue while Hurricane Dean begins to move away - Hurricane warning remains in effect

Published:Monday | August 20, 2007 | 12:59 AM

Met Office Bulletin No. 19 at 11 p.m.

A Hurricane Warning remains in effect for Jamaica as dangerous Hurricane Dean moves west of the island. This means that dangerously high water and/or exceptionally high waves, and average winds of 118 km/h or higher are still expected into tomorrow.

At 10:00 p.m. the centre of Hurricane Dean was located near Latitude 17.6 degrees North, Longitude 78.8 degrees West; or about 85 km (52 miles) southwest of Negril Point, Jamaica.

Dean is moving westward at near 32 km/h (20 mph) and this general motion is expected to continue during the next 24 hours. On this track, the centre of Dean is forecast to move away from Jamaica overnight and pass just south of the Cayman Islands on Monday morning.

Maximum sustained winds remain near 230 km/h (145 mph), with higher gusts. Dean is a dangerous Category 4 hurricane; however, some strengthening is forecast during the next 24 hours to bring Dean to Category 5 strength on Monday. Hurricane force winds extend outward approximately 95 km (60 miles), while tropical storm force winds extend 335 km (205 miles) from the centre.

Jamaica continues to experience strong, gusty winds and very heavy rainfall as the island remains embedded in the bands associated with Hurricane Dean. Satellite imagery indicates that showers are occurring across the island as well as over territorial waters. Life-threatening flash floods, landslides and storm surges remain a threat of the system.

It is possible that eastern parishes could begin to see a decrease in rainfall and winds tomorrow morning, while western parishes will continue to experience showers and gusty winds until later on Monday. Small craft operators are reminded to remain in safe harbour until all warning messages have been lifted and wind and sea conditions have returned to normal.

All interests should continue to monitor subsequent Releases from the Meteorological Service. The next Bulletin on Hurricane Dean will be issued at 5:00 a.m. tomorrow.