Hurricane Dean Closes in on Eastern Caribbean

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FORT-DE-FRANCE, Martinique (AP) - Airports are closed, coastal hotels have been evacuated and some tourists are in shelters as Hurricane Dean spins toward the eastern Caribbean.

The first hurricane of the Atlantic season is a large and dangerous storm, packing 100 mile-per-hour winds. It's closing in on Martinique, Dominica and St. Lucia.

Islanders have stocked up on essentials and taped glass windows.

About 300 American medical students from Dominica's Ross University were stranded at the island's airport Thursday until family members hired private planes. Most are now in Puerto Rico, awaiting flights to the U.S.

The National Hurricane Center says Dean could become a dangerous Category Three hurricane by the time it reaches the central Caribbean. It appears to be heading south of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Dominican Republic and Haiti, which share the island of Hispaniola.