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Atlanta, GA Weather from Weather Underground

Sunday, August 15, 2004

BBC News > Thirteen die in Florida hurricane

State officials say 13 have died in Florida in the wake of Hurricane Charley which swept across the state, causing widespread destruction.
Packing winds of up to 145mph (230km/h), Charley landed further south on Florida's Gulf coast than predicted, catching some residents by surprise.
Earlier estimates put the death toll at 15, but the figure could rise again.
The hurricane, the strongest to hit Florida in a dozen years, has weakened and is moving over South Carolina.
Unprepared
The worst-hit communities appear to be Punta Gorda and Port Charlotte in Charlotte County. They have requested 60 body bags be sent to one mobile home park in Punta Gorda, a town of some 15,000, which took the full force of the storm, with few buildings left untouched.

"Our worst fears have come true," said Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who flew over Punta Gorda by helicopter.
Charley came ashore on Friday at 1550 (1950 GMT) at Punta Gorda, catching many residents unprepared because it was believed the storm would hit further north.
"This type of hurricane only happens once every 100 years, they say," Harry Thomas told Reuters as he looked at his destroyed motel in Port Charlotte.



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