Alarmed tourists are jamming Caribbean airports for flights out of Hurricane Dean's path.
The monster storm has begun sweeping past the Dominican Republic and Haiti and is threatening to engulf Jamaica and the Cayman Islands.
The Category 4 storm's effects could be felt in Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic, where an 11-year-old boy drowned while watching ocean waves.
The outer bands of the storm are expected to bring as much as 6 inches of rain to the Dominican Republic and Haiti, which share the island of Hispaniola.
Jamaica, which stands directly in the storm's projected path, began evacuating people to more than 1,000 shelters nationwide.
President Bush, meanwhile, has signed a pre-landfall emergency disaster declaration for Texas. It allows the federal government to immediately send people, equipment and supplies to the state if Dean makes landfall there.