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News From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
November 3, 2004

Preliminary Medical Examiner Reports of Mortality Associated With Hurricane Charley—Florida, 2004

JAMA. 2004;292(17):2075-2076. doi:10.1001/jama.292.17.2075

MMWR. 2004;53:835-837

1 figure, 1 table omitted

On August 13, 2004, at approximately 3:45 p.m. EDT, Hurricane Charley made landfall at Cayo Costa, a Gulf of Mexico barrier island west of Cape Coral, Florida, as a Category 4 storm, with sustained winds estimated at 145 mph.1 Charley was the strongest hurricane to make landfall in the United States since Hurricane Andrew in August 1992.2 Charley created a 7-foot storm surge in Fort Myers, then traversed the state in 9 hours, continuing in a northeast direction across eight counties. This report presents preliminary data from Florida medical examiners (MEs), which indicated that 31 deaths were associated with Hurricane Charley. Deaths might be reduced through coordinated hurricane planning, focused evacuations, and advance communication to the public regarding the environmental hazards after a natural disaster.