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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Hurricane Dean Rocks Jamaica

KINGSTON, Jamaica -- Hurricane Dean buffeted Jamaica's southern coast, flooding the capital and littering it with broken trees after killing nine people as it tore through the Caribbean on Monday toward Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.

Dean was an "extremely dangerous" Category 4 hurricane, the second-highest on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, and the U.S. National Hurricane Center said it could strengthen to a catastrophic Category 5 over the next 24 hours.

Packing winds of 240 kilometers per hour, the hurricane was moving south of the Cayman Islands at 5 a.m. with it's eye 185 kilometers southeast of Grand Cayman, moving westward.

The eye of the storm passed just south of Jamaica but the intense wall of winds around the calm center pummeled the island. Sheets of rain pelted the capital and roads were blocked by toppled trees, utility poles and smashed roofs.

The wind howled over the island nation of 3 million people and pounding waves battered the southern coast. Mudslides were reported in several parts of the mountainous country.

Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller declared a monthlong state of emergency and called a cabinet meeting to discuss the potential impact on Aug. 27 general elections.

"They're still getting pretty beaten up," hurricane forecaster Dave Roberts said. "I know they were massively flooded from the reports that we had."