Hurricane Dean strengthens to category four
Now packing winds of up to 135 miles per hour Hurricane Dean is moving across the Caribbean and expected to make landfall in Jamaica before 2 p.m. on Sunday.
Metereological 8 p.m. bulletin ...
*** HURRICANE WATCH STILL IN EFFECT AS HURRICANE DEAN REACHES CATEGORY 4 STRENGTH* * *
A Hurricane Watch remains in effect for Jamaica as dangerous Hurricane Dean continues to strengthen while moving towards the island. This means that hurricane conditions pose a possible threat within 36 hours.
At 7:00 p.m. the centre of Hurricane Dean was located near Latitude 14.9 degrees North, Longitude 65.1 degrees West. This is about 410 kilometres (255 miles) south-southeast of Puerto Rico or close to 1220 kilometres (760 miles) east-southeast of Morant Point, Jamaica.
Dean is moving towards the west near 31 km/h (19 mph) and this general motion is expected to continue with a slight decrease in forward speed during the next 24 hours.
Maximum sustained winds are near 215 km/h (135 mph), with higher gusts, making Dean now a Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale. Further strengthening is forecast during the next 24 hours. Hurricane force winds extend outward approximately 45 kilometres (30 miles), while tropical storm force winds extend as far as 295 kilometres (185 miles) from the centre.
There is no change in the forecast track of the hurricane, where its eye is projected to be south of Puerto Rico tonight and over the warm waters of the central Caribbean Sea, south of Hispaniola, on Saturday. The centre is then expected to move over Jamaica on Sunday. Should this occur, the island would begin to experience an increase in showers and gusty winds associated with the hurricane by Saturday evening.
All small craft operators, including fishers on the cays and banks, should by now be arriving in port to start preparations for safe harbour.
The Meteorological Service will continue to monitor the progress of this system. All interests should pay special attention to subsequent Releases.
The next Bulletin on Hurricane Dean will be issued at 11:00 p.m.