Hurricane Dean headed for Mexico on Monday, after battering Jamaica into a state of emergency by downing power lines, ripping off roofs and blocking roads with felled trees.
Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller announced late on Sunday that security forces would be granted wider powers after police reported several looting incidents across the island.
The state of emergency will be reviewed at a meeting of the Jamaican cabinet later today, but was envisaged for a period of 30 days,and Miller even indicated that national elections on August 27 may be delayed due to Dan.
The category four hurricane, packing winds of 240 kilometers an hour which have so far killed five people across the Caribbean basin, was whipping up giant surf as it headed south of the Cayman Islands for Belize and Mexico's Yucatan peninsula.
Roads were blocked by fallen trees and flooded in the eastern parts of Jamaica, with power cuts affecting thousands of homes.
"The sea has dumped debris onto the roads," Portland parish Mayor Bobbie Montague said as the Storm surged by Jamaica's southern coast, on course for the nearby Cayman Islands, Mexico and possibly Texas in coming days.
At 1430 hrs IST, the centre of Dean was located 185 kilometres south-southeast of Grand Cayman Island, moving west at about 33 kilometres an hour, said the US National Hurricane Centre.