Hurricane Dean has increased in strength to category five, the most powerful type of tropical storm as it bears down on Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula with winds stronger than 165 miles an hour. Torrential rains and storm surges up to six metres are forecast.Thousands of tourists have fled the country’s beaches and high-risk areas including the Mexican resort of Cancun and the surrounding Mayan Riviera cities such as Playa del Carmen and Cozumel.
Cruise ships have changed their routes; tourists have also cancelled reservations and Cancun’s hotel zone has emptied out, yet 20,000 of tourists remain in Cancun, according to the BBC news.
The eye is expected to strike Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula this morning. Temporary shelters have been set up and more police have been put on patrol.
Hurricane Dean has already claimed eight lives across the Caribbean, after the storm brushed Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. But both were spared the full force as it passed to the south of the islands.