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Hurricane Dean could threaten Gulf of Mexico

Hurricane Dean visible image. NOAA/NHC photo

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Hurricane Dean, which could strengthen into a Category 4 hurricane over the next few days, will likely cross the islands of the eastern Caribbean on Friday and could threaten the Gulf of Mexico next week.
Meanwhile, Tropical Depression Erin produced heavy rains over portions of Texas as it weakened after moving inland over the south Texas coast this morning.
The energy market is watching the weather models to see if Dean will enter the Gulf of Mexico and where it could disrupt the region's oil and natural gas facilities, which account for roughly a third of U.S. oil production.
The NHC issued hurricane warnings for the Lesser Antilles islands of Dominica and St Lucia. A hurricane warning means the NHC expects a hurricane to strike the warning area within 24 hours

At 11 a.m. EDT, the center of Dean was located about 350 miles east of Barbados and about 455 miles east of Martinique.
Dean was moving quickly toward the west at near 23 miles per hour. This would put the center of the hurricane near the Lesser Antilles, which extend south from the Virgin Islands to Trinidad and Tobago, on Friday morning.
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