Santo Domingo.- Hurricane Dean passed 270kms south of the capital at 4:00pm Saturday, moving in a west-northwesterly direction at 28kph with relatively little rain or wind, but it did cause strong wave activity on the coastline.
The hurricane is expected to pass 110km south of Barahona at midnight.
Rainfall in the area has not exceeded 75mm, according to the meteorological authorities. However, rain is forecast for the entire island for the next 24 hours.
Meanwhile, in San Pedro de Macoris a 23-year old man was pulled out of the sea off the Malecon seafront avenue. He was clinging to a buoy that was being buffeted by strong waves.
José Alberto Palacio was saved by three fishermen, Sergio Antonio Sánchez, Eddy Antonio Sánchez and Pedro Mota Santana who took him to the Navy headquarters, from where he was taken to a health center for treatment.
Palacio, who had apparently been surfing in the stormy sea with several friends, was quoted as saying “I will never defy nature again”.
Many flights to and from the country’s airports have been suspended until further notice.
The Santo Domingo municipal authorities closed the Malecon area in response to the large number of people who were in the area watching the waves, after fears for their safety.
Supermarkets reported increased sales as people stocked up with food and drinks in anticipation of the hurricane's passage.
President Leonel Fernandez announced a special contingency fund to cover mitigation and preparation costs for any effects that Hurricane Dean might have on the national territory. Fernandez is reported to be monitoring developments from his office at the National Palace.