Dean nears Category 5 strength, continues along forecast track - Maximum sustained winds near 150 mph
A Hurricane Watch remains in effect for Jamaica as dangerous Hurricane Dean continues to strengthen while heading towards the island. This means that hurricane conditions still pose a possible threat within 36 hours.
At 4:00 a.m. the centre of Hurricane Dean was located near Latitude 15.1 degrees North, Longitude 67.3 degrees West. This is about 390 km (240 miles) south-southwest of San Juan, Puerto Rico, or close to 1010 km (630 miles) east-southeast of Morant Point, Jamaica.
Dean is now moving towards the west near 28 km/h (17 mph) and a general west to west-northwestward motion is expected during the next 24 hours.
Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 240 km/h (150 mph), with higher gusts. Dean is now a powerful Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale and further strengthening is forecast during the next 24 hours. Hurricane force winds extend outward approximately 95 km (60 miles), while tropical storm force winds extend as far as 335 km (205 miles) from the centre.
The eye of Hurricane Dean is being forecast to move south of the Dominican Republic today and south of Haiti tonight before tracking across Jamaica during the afternoon on Sunday. Outer bands of the hurricane could, however, start affecting the island by Saturday night with increasing cloudiness, showers and gusty winds.
All small craft operators, including fishers on the cays and banks, should by now have completed all the necessary safety precautions and are advised to remain in safe harbour until all warning messages have been lifted and wind and sea conditions have returned to normal.
It is likely that a Hurricane Warning could be issued later today as the Meteorological Service continues to monitor the progress of Hurricane Dean. All interests should pay special attention to subsequent Releases.
The next Bulletin on Hurricane Dean will be issued at 8:00 a.m.