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Mexico, Texas brace for Hurricane Dean -

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Mexico, Texas brace for Hurricane Dean

Broadcast: 20/08/2007

Reporter: John Stewart

Hurricane Dean is continuing its destructive path across the Caribbean after battering the southern
coast of Jamaica.

Transcript

TONY JONES: Hurricane Dean is continuing its destructive path across the Caribbean, after lashing
the south coast of Jamaica.

Wind speeds of more than 200 kilometres per hour were recorded in Kingston. There are fears the
storm could strengthen as it heads towards Mexico. Residents of Texas are also preparing for the
worst, with warnings the category four storm could build into a category five. John Stewart
reports.

JOHN STEWART: Wild seas lashed Jamaica's coastline as the eye of the storm passed just a few
kilometres out to sea. In the capital, Kingston, trees were uprooted and roofs ripped off homes.
The Jamaican Government declared a 48-hour curfew to deter looters and shut down the city's
electricity supply.

In Haiti, these men struggled to secure a boat in huge seas and several people died when a tree
fell on this house. The hurricane is tracking across the Caribbean, heading to Mexico's Yucatan
peninsula and may hit the popular resort at Cancun. Today thousands of nervous tourists headed to
the airport.

MATT SMITH, TOURIST: Yeah, I've never experienced a hurricane before, so I'm happy I'm leaving,
man. I don't want to get stuck here.

JOHN STEWART: Others are planning to stay put.

KEVIN, TOURIST: We're not scared of the hurricane, we just want to see it. [We will] stay in the
hotel. Very nice location.

JOHN STEWART: But Cancun residents are taking no chances, boarding up homes and businesses and
stocking up on supplies. The storm could hit north America within the next few days. In Texas,
federal officials are getting ready.

DAVID PAULISON, FEMA DIRECTOR: We are going to continue to operate as if this storm is moving into
the United States and I think that is a prudent thing to do.

JOHN STEWART: Even the space shuttle has been affected by the hurricane. The Endeavour is heading
back to earth one day early in case the bad weather threatens the Houston control centre. The space
shuttle crew had this armchair view of the huge storm.

DAVID PAULISON: There is still uncertainty with a storm like this.

JOHN STEWART: Other recent tropical storms have flooded parts of Oklahoma. Helicopters were used to
rescue people stranded in the water. One woman was dragged into the air then dropped, and then
picked up again. The helicopter rescue team also saved another man caught in the flood. John
Stewart, Lateline.