Mean Dean slammed ashore south of Tulum
near Chetumal on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula in the pre-dawn hours
Tuesday morning, making history as the first Category 5 hurricane
to make landfall since Hurricane Andrew hit south Florida in 1992.
The storm's path
was a blessing of sorts. The area of landfall was sparsely
populated, had already been evacuated and it skirted the major
resort areas of Cancun and Cozumel further north, although the size
of this vicious system from its eye in the center to the tropical
bands at its edges mirrored the size of the state of Texas,
according to the National Hurricane Center.
considerably as it sprinted inland, dropping to a Category 3 and
then 2 within hours of landfall. However, forecasters said that
Dean could intensify again over the warm waters of the Bay of
Campeche, heading possibly for Veracruz or points within interior
Jamaica, Air Jamaica resumed operations at the Norman Manley
Airport in Kingston on Tuesday. Most flights to Montego Bay and
Kingston from the U.S. are operating, although departure and
arrival times ,have been altered on many flights.
flight 034 from Fort Lauderdale arrived in Montego Bay at 5:18 pm
Monday, making it the first commercial flight back to Jamaica after
"This was important
for us," said Paul Pennicook, Air Jamaica's senior vice president,
sales and marketing. "By reinstating flights quickly and offering
our Guaranteed Travel Program for our customers, we hope to
recuperate very soon from the setbacks caused by Dean."
Air Jamaica tickets to/from Barbados, Bonaire, Grand Cayman,
Grenada, Jamaica, Nassau and St. Lucia issued on or before Aug. 16
for travel through Aug. 24 may change their itineraries without
penalty and can extend their travel up to Aug. 31 on the same fare.
For information and assistance, call the customer service hotline
at (800) 523-5585.
Northwest, Spirit Airlines and US Airways all have resumed limited
operations into Montego Bay.
Airlines, meanwhile, advised customers holding Mexico reservations
to call (800) 525-0280 or check the Web site [www.continental.com] for any service updates. The
carrier operated its normal flight schedule to Cancun and Merida on
Tuesday and one of its two daily flights to Cozumel. Its flights to
Belize City were cancelled due to airport closure.
The Jamaica Tourist
Board reported that the roads between Negril and Montego Bay are
accessible and the Treassure Beach roads have been cleared but
caution is needed due to downed poles.
The Port Authority
of Jamaica confirmed that Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas
will dock in Montego Bay on Wednesday with 4,500 passengers,
although all other cruise lines cancelled calls in Jamaica for the
remainder of this week.
In Ocho Rios, the
following attractions were slated to reopen for business on
Wednesday: Dolphin Cove; Dunn's River Falls; Prospect Plantation;
Green Grotto Cave. Chukka Caribbean Adventures reported no damage
to its facilities and should reopen by Wednesday as well after
canopy tour lines are reinstalled.
Also in Ocho Rios,
Jake's suffered some damage and will reopen Oct. 1.
In Negril, Rick's
Cafe had slight damage to its bandstand area but is open for
business as usual.
The 17-room Tensing
Pen Hotel in Negril had minimal damage and will reopen by Aug.
In Montego Bay, the
Ritz-Carlton Rose Hall will accept new reservations Aug. 23 and
Strawberry Hill will reopen on Aug. 24. All golf courses are open
or will be by Thursday.
The Jamaica Public
Service Co. pledged to restore electricity to most customers by the
end of the week. Power was restored Monday to critical services in
Kingston and Montego Bay, such as airports, hospitals and water
In Dominica, hotels
suffered minimal damage and are said to be operational and
attractions on the island are closed for cleanup but expect to
reopen by Wednesday. Siufriere Sulphur Springs was the only site to
suffer structural damage due to flooding and the pools remain
closed until further notice.
The island's two
airports, Melville Hall and Cane Field, are open and all airlines
have resumed normal schedules, according to the Dominica Tourist
contact reporter Gay Nagle Myers, send e-mail to [email protected].
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