YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections


3 die as Hurricane Dean strengthens, heads toward Jamaica

August 18, 2007|From the Associated Press

CASTRIES, ST. LUCIA — Hurricane Dean roared into the eastern Caribbean on Friday, tearing away roofs, flooding streets and causing at least three deaths as it strengthened to a dangerous Category 4 storm with sustained winds of 145 mph.

Forecasters said that it was on a collision course with Jamaica and Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.

On this tiny island, fierce winds tore corrugated metal roofs from dozens of houses and a hospital's pediatric ward, whose patients had been evacuated hours earlier.

Police said a 62-year-old man drowned when he tried to retrieve a cow from a river.

The government on Dominica reported that a woman and her 7-year-old son died when a hillside soaked by Dean's rains gave way and crushed the house where they were sleeping.

French authorities on the nearby island of Martinique said a 90-year-old man had died of a heart attack during the storm, but it was unclear whether Dean was a factor.

Dean was forecast to brush the southern coast of Haiti late today, then hit Jamaica on Sunday before clipping Yucatan two days later. The storm could threaten the United States by Wednesday, forecasters said.

In Washington, the State Department said it would allow some U.S. diplomats in Jamaica to leave the island to avoid the storm.

Jamaican officials said the national arena in the capital, Kingston, would serve as one of several shelters, and they drafted a plan to move inmates at two maximum-security prisons if needed.

About a dozen cruise ships were altering their itineraries to avoid the hurricane and its aftermath, according to the website

On Yucatan, Mexican authorities broadcast radio alerts warning people to prepare. Some boarded up windows and stocked up on supplies, and officials prepared about 570 schools, gymnasiums and public buildings as shelters.

People on Martinique, St. Lucia and Dominica mostly stayed indoors Friday while the hurricane swept the islands with heavy rain and wind.

On St. Lucia, the storm washed boulders from the sea onto downtown streets and knocked down trees.

The power company shut off electricity across the island to prevent electrocution by downed power lines.

Dominica had minor flooding, battered banana crops and some damage to at least 150 homes.

On Martinique, household goods were drenched when roofs were ripped off.

Some roads on the island were blocked by toppled billboards and other debris.

Los Angeles Times Articles