Rabbi Mendel Druk, co-director of the new Chabad-Lubavitch Jewish Center in Cancun, Mexico, reported on Tuesday that despite expectations, Hurricane Dean largely spared the resort area's Jewish community the brunt of its wrath.

Dean slammed into the Yucatan Peninsula state of Quintana Roo, Mexico, early on Tuesday as a monster Category 5 storm with maximum sustained winds of 165 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center. But it was quickly downgraded to a lesser Category 2 storm by the time it made it back over open waters in the Gulf of Mexico.

According to Druk, who hours before the storm had assured the safety of the last of the Jewish tourists in Cancun – most heeded his pleas and that of authorities to evacuate – the fact that Dean's eye-wall made landfall south of the resort destination helped tremendously.

With the worst past but winds still howling outside, Druk said by telephone that, "Thank G‑d, everyone I got in contact with made it out."

Floodwaters associated with Dean made rivers out of Chetumal, Mexico's streets. But in Cancun, telephone service and electricity were functioning normally late Tuesday morning.

On Monday, Druk prepared his new house for the storm by boarding up windows. He and his family hunkered down at 7 p.m. that night.

"We heard a lot of excitement outside, but otherwise it hasn't affected us so much," he said. "We were tracking it for a while until about 3 a.m. when we fell asleep."

Druk and his wife Rachel, and their infant daughter Mushka, established their Chabad House two months ago. Located between the island hotel district and the bayside downtown area, they serve both communities.

"It's amazing," he said of the storm. "Thank G‑d we're safe. We were bracing for a lot worse."

Of their decision to stay put and ride out the storm, Druk said simply that they "did not want to leave the community behind."

"What if something would have happened?" he asked rhetorically. "We wanted to be available if there had been serious damage, G‑d forbid, to assist in the aftermath."