CANCUN, Mexico (CNN) -- Hurricane Dean burgeoned into a Category 5 storm -- capable of inflicting catastrophic damage when it makes landfall early Tuesday.
Residents look at the waters in Chetumal, Mexico. Rain from the storm hit Monday.
1 of 3 more photos » The storm -- with maximum sustained winds of 160 mph -- was not expected to weaken before its landfall on the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, the National Hurricane Center said.
A Category 5 storm is the most extreme level on the Saffir-Simpson scale, the standard measurement for hurricanes. Such hurricanes can have a storm surge of more than 18 feet and are powerful enough to take off roofs, uproot trees and wipe out buildings.
Dean is expected to pour 5 to 10 inches of rain on the Yucatan, Belize, Guatemala and Honduras. Some areas could see up to 20 inches -- enough to "cause life-threatening flash floods and mud slides," the hurricane center said.