Strong Hurricane Hits The Caribbean

FORT-DE-FRANCE, Martinique (AP) -- The eastern Caribbean is feeling the effects of the Atlantic storm season's first hurricane.

The eye of Hurricane Dean is passing directly between the islands of St. Lucia and Martinique, which are less than 50 miles apart.

A caller to Radio Martinique says she can "feel its strength."

St. Lucia's acting prime minister shut down its two commercial airports last night as the hurricane closed in, anticipating a direct hit. Volunteers went door-to-door to make sure people knew the storm was coming.

People are hunkered down in shelters on Martinique, where the government has canceled a planned commemoration of a plane crash one year ago that killed 152 islanders.

Dean's 100-mile-an-hour winds could intensify into an even more dangerous Category Three hurricane as it heads over warmer waters toward Jamaica.

It's too early to say whether it poses a threat to the U.S. but the governor's office in Texas says it's not too early to start getting ready.


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