Hurricane Dean is upgraded to a Category 2 storm

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Hurricane Dean as reported by NOAA

According to the National Hurricane Center, Hurricane Dean is now a Category 2 hurricane. The Atlantic's first hurricane of the season had top sustained winds at 100 mph at 5 p.m. EDT. Dean's winds were measured at 75 mph earlier in the day.

A meteorologist from the National Hurricane Center warns, "Dean is likely to become a major hurricane in the eastern Caribbean Sea." Adding that one forecast shows it could become "an extremely dangerous Category 4 hurricane by the time it reaches the northwestern Caribbean Sea."

Forecasters claim the storm could threaten the Lesser Antilles by Friday. Dean is then forecast to pass over Jamaica by 2 p.m. EDT Sunday, and then move across the Yucatan Peninsula and enter the Gulf of Mexico by Tuesday.

Hurricane warnings have been issues for the islands of St. Lucia and Dominica. The Barbados weather service has issued a tropical storm warning for the island of Barbados and a tropical storm watch for St. Vincent and St. Maarten.

Katherine Cesinger, a spokeswoman for Texas Governor Rick Perry said, "It's so far out, but it's not too early to start preparing...We have more notice than with Erin. We're glad for that especially since [Dean] is projected to bring some strength."

At 2 p.m. EDT, the storm was about 210 miles due east of Barbados and about 305 miles east of Martinique, according to the National Hurricane Center. It is moving west at 23 mph.

Hurricane Dean was officially named early this morning.