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Published 20th August 2007, 7:53am

The Cayman Islands has been spared the brunt of Hurricane Dean as it continues its westerly path south of the Cayman Islands and towards the Yucatan Peninsula. The hurricane's closest point of approach was within 102 miles of Grand Cayman at 6 am this morning, with that island reporting wind gusts estimated near 57 mph early morning. Tropical storm conditions are expected to continue through this Monday afternoon. Rain will feature intermittent showers, becoming heavy at times, leading to additional localized flooding. Wave action will mainly be experienced along the south coast, in the region of 12 to 16 feet and coastal storm surge of 5 to 7 feet above normal tide levels, along with large and dangerous battering waves, is possible. The population should be aware that a hurricane warning remains in effect for the three islands. A curfew, declared at 10 pm Sunday night, remains in effect for all three islands until further notice. The population is required to remain in their homes until the curfew is lifted. This will be lifted as soon as conditions are deemed appropriate. The latest report from the National Hurricane Center in Miami indicates that at 7:00 am local (Cayman) time, the centre of Hurricane Dean was located near latitude 17.8 north and longitude 81.5 west or about 440 miles east of Belize City. Dean is moving toward the west near 21 mph and a westward or west-northwestward motion is expected over the next 24 hours. On this track the centre of the hurricane will be very near the East Coast of the Yucatan Peninsula tonight. Maximum sustained winds at the centre of Dean are near 150 mph with higher gusts. Dean continues to be regarded as an extremely dangerous category four hurricane, with the potential to reach category five strength within the next 24 hours. Hurricane force winds extend outward from the centre of Dean up to 60 miles from the centre and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 205 miles. The next advisory will be issued by the National Hurricane Center in Miami at 10 am local (Cayman) time.