Storm could pick up strength again as it heads towards Gulf of Mexico oilfields.
Possible catastrophic damage
Last month Hurricane Dean, the first in the Atlantic hurricane season, turned into a Category 5 storm, killing at least 27 people along a similar route.
Category 5 hurricanes are rare and are capable of causing catastrophic damage.
|Saffir-Simpson Hurricane scale|
Category 2 – Winds 154-177kph
Category 3 – Winds 178-209kph
Category 4 – Winds 210-249kph
Category 5 – Winds 249kph or higher
Forecasters said that after passing Curacao and Aruba, the storm was expected to spin over the open waters of the central Caribbean, before skirting Honduras’s northern coastline on Tuesday and ploughing into Belize on Wednesday.
Residents of Curacao, unfamiliar to hurricanes which normally track further to the north, stocked up on emergency supplies as supermarkets remained open late into the night.
The authorities opened shelters for coastal residents and closed the island’s airport for several hours.
However, neither Curacao nor its sister island Bonaire reported casualties.
Herbert Domacasse, Bonaire’s lieutenant governor, said the local population and visitors remained in their homes and hotels overnight.
“No calls were received on the emergency line set up in preparation for the storm,” he said.
Hurricane watches in Aruba, Curacao and Bonaire were lifted but storm watches were up for Jamaica and Grand Cayman although forecasters expected Felix to keep well to the south as it moved west-northwest.
Most storms hit from August 20 to mid-October, with September 10 marking the statistical height of the season.