Hurricane Dean approaching landfall in the Lesser Antilles August 16, 2007 Share 1 -- The first hurricane of the Atlantic season, Hurricane Dean, is on a path for landfall between Dominica and St. Lucia at some point on Friday. The storm, a Category 2 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 100 mph, is forecast to strengthen before passing Jamaica on its way toward the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico over the weekend. As of the latest report by the National Hurricane Center in Miami, the center of Hurricane Dean is located about 200 miles east of Barbados and 300 miles east of Martinique.According to the NHC, the current track will take the center of Dean near the Lesser Antilles early Friday.The storm is expected to dump two to five inches of rain, with locally heavier amounts. The rainfall could lead to flash flooding and mudslides. In addition, storm surge is expected two to four feet above normal levels with large and dangerous waves battering the coast.According to the NHC, Dean could strengthen to "an extremely dangerous Category 4 hurricane by the time it reaches the northwestern Caribbean Sea (near Jamaica and the Cayman Islands)" and then continuing on to the Yucatan Peninsula.A Category 4 storm has sustained winds of 131 to 155 mph and has the potential to cause extreme damage. Notable storms with Category 4 status include hurricanes Felix, Luis and Opal (all in 1995) Hurricane Dennis (in 2005).Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Erin was downgraded to a tropical depression as it came ashore in Texas about 25 miles northeast of Corpus Christi. All watches and warnings have been lifted along the Texas coast.The storm is forecast to bring three to six inches of rain over areas of southern and central Texas, an area that had been soaked with record rainfall during late June and July. Most of the state already is above normal yearly rainfall totals.To contact the reporter who wrote this article, send e-mail to Kimberly Scholz at firstname.lastname@example.org.Get More!To keep track of the 2007 Atlantic Hurricane Season and how it is affecting the travel industry,click here. More links will be added as articles go live on TravelWeekly.com.Stormy waters may affect cruise itinerariesCruise lines are monitoring Hurricane Dean, the Atlantic basin's first hurricane of 2007, as it swirls toward the eastern Caribbean, and alerting their passengers to prepare for possible itinerary changes. Carnival Cruise Lines has already changed the route of the Carnival Destiny and the Carnival Miracle. The Destiny, which left San Juan on Aug. 12, will skip tomorrow's call in Antigua and instead spend a day at sea; in addition, the vessel will add a stop in Tortola on Saturday, which was originally to have been a sea day.The Miracle, which left New York yesterday, will go to Grand Turk instead of San Juan on Saturday, Half Moon Cay instead of St. Thomas on Sunday and Nassau instead of Tortola on Monday.Royal Caribbean International said it is closely monitoring the path and progress of Hurricane Dean, to make certain its ships steer clear of the storm. The line is not currently altering the itineraries of any ships, but said that alternative port-of-call options are being reviewed, should they be necessary.In addition, the airlines are monitoring the storm and may change their travel schedules over the next several days.To contact the reporter who wrote this article, send e-mail to Johanna Jainchill at email@example.com.