Dean Could Become Category 5

Storm tears across Caribbean, homes in on Jamaica, Mexico
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 18, 2007 11:00 AM CDT

(Newser) – Hurricane Dean is now expected to strengthen into a Category 5 as it barrels toward Jamaica and Mexico. Forecasters say Dean, powered by 150-mph winds, will hit the Dominican Republic and Haiti today, after ploughing through homes and banana plantations on St. Lucia and Martinique yesterday.

Computer models say Dean will reach Category 5 before paying a call to Jamaica tomorrow—by Tuesday it could visit Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula or the oil-rich Gulf of Mexico. Oil companies, anxiously watching Dean’s path, evacuated employees from offshore rigs. The 2007 hurricane season is expected to be more active than usual, Reuters reports, registering 16 named storms.