Hurricane Dean lashes Jamaica

first_imgAs of 8 p.m. Sunday, Dean was located 70 miles west-southwest of Kingston and was traveling west at 20 mph, the National Hurricane Center said. George Lee, mayor of the Portmore community near the capital Kingston, said appeals to evacuate had gone unheeded. Some islanders said they were afraid for their belongings if they moved to shelters. “Too much crime in Kingston. I’m not leaving my home,” Paul Lyn said in Port Royal, east of Kingston. Assistant Commissioner of Police Linval Bailey said police were sent to commercial districts to prevent looting and curfews were imposed until Monday evening. Police got into a shootout with looters at a shopping center in the central Jamaican parish of Clarendon, but no one was hurt, Constable Cheree Greaves said.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Forecasters had predicted Dean would hit the Cayman Islands head-on, but on Sunday night revised that and said it would instead likely pass to the south. Still, the islands could get up to 12 inches of rain and tropical-storm strength winds Monday, said meteorologist Rebecca Waddington of the hurricane center. Hurricane-force winds began lashing Jamaica on Sunday afternoon, Waddington said. But the island was spared a direct hit when Dean’s eye wound up passing just to the south Sunday night. The government set up more than 1,000 shelters in converted schools, churches and the indoor national sports arena. Authorities urged people to take cover from the storm, which had maximum sustained winds of 145 mph and was expected to dump up to 20 inches of rain on the island. But only 47 shelters were occupied as the storm began hitting, said Cecil Bailey of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management. “For the last time, I’m asking you to leave or you will be in danger,” Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller urged residents earlier as the storm loomed offshore. KINGSTON, Jamaica – Hurricane Dean pummeled Jamaica with gusting winds and torrential rains Sunday after the prime minister made a last-minute plea for residents to abandon their homes and head for shelter. Many residents ignored the call, however, while tourists holed up in resorts with hurricane-proof walls. Dean, which had already killed eight people on its destructive march across the Caribbean, triggered evacuation calls from the Cayman Islands to Texas, and forced the space shuttle to cut short its mission. Cruise ships changed course to avoid the storm, but some tourists in Jamaica could not get away before the island closed its airports late Saturday. The National Hurricane Center in Miami said the first hurricane of the Atlantic season was projected to reach the most dangerous classification, a Category 5 storm, with sustained winds of 160 mph before plowing into Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula on Tuesday. The Mexican mainland or Texas could be hit later. last_img

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