Hurricane Dean is threatening the islands of St. Lucia, Dominica, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Montserrat, Antigua, St. Kitts, Nevis, Barbuda, Barbados, St. Vincent, the Grenadines, the Netherlands Antilles, Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Maarten and Grenada.
Warnings or watches for hurricane-force or tropical storm-force winds and rain have been issued for those areas this morning. The storm is expected to make landfall at the Lesser Antilles within 24 hours -- probably Friday morning.
The Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Hispaniola are also being advised to closely watch the track of the storm, as it approaches. Hurricane Dean, which grew into a Category 1 Hurricane out of a tropical storm overnight, was located about 350 miles east of Barbados, and is moving west at about 23 mph. It has sustained winds near 90 mph, with higher gusts -- and experts at the National Hurricane Center expect its strength to increase.
The hurricane could grow into a powerful Category 3 storm before it reaches Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula in the coming days, according to press accounts. Winds of tropical storm-intensity are being measured 105 miles from the center of the hurricane. Storm surges of 2-4 feet, rainfall of 2-5 inches, with as much as 7 in mountains could contribute to life-threatening flash flooding conditions, the National Hurricane Center warned. This is the first of what is forecast to be a strong hurricane season.
For the latest forecast, see Experts Upgrade Atlantic Hurricane Forecast.
Also see The Storm Pundit's latest post: Nothing But Land To Stop Hurricane Dean ... And SuperTyphoon Sepat
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