Tue, Aug 21, 2007 - Page 7 News List

Caymans braced for brush with Dean


Authorities in the Cayman Islands imposed a curfew and evacuated tourists as the British territory braced for a brush yesterday with Hurricane Dean -- a powerful storm leaving a trail of destruction across the Caribbean.

Dean, which uprooted trees and tore roofs from homes as it skirted the southern coast of Jamaica on Sunday, was expected to slam into Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula late yesterday. The storm has killed at least eight people as it has moved across the Caribbean.

Dean was expected to pass to the south of the Caymans but the government said it still posed a "significant threat" to the islands. Forecasters said the islands could receive up to 30cm of rain.

Authorities urged people to take cover from the storm, which early yesterday had maximum sustained winds of 241kph, up from 235kph on Sunday, and could dump up to 50cm of rain.

The storm is a powerful Category 4, and could reach the highest level, Category 5, with maximum winds greater than 249kph, the US National Hurricane Center in Miami said in its latest advisory.

Hundreds of people jammed the airport on Saturday, many sprawled on the floor as they waited for flights out of the territory.

"It's kind of spooky. We don't know what to do or where to go," said 20-year-old George Mitchell, of Detroit, Michigan, who had missed his flight.

"We were going to stay and ride it out but then our hotel just kicked us out," said Berta Eversoll, 46, from Jacksonville, Florida, as she sipped a beer at the airport.

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