All Weather News

Flooding Leads to Highest Deaths in Hurricane Matthew

8 Mar 2017, 3:48 pm

The Center for Disease Control and Mortality (CDC) recently issued a report on Hurricane Matthew regarding deaths associated with the storm. A total of 43 fatalities were reported, with more than half of the deaths due to drownings. Over half the deaths were in North Carolina at 26.

The report says, “Despite public health warnings to avoid flood waters, among all 23 hurricane-related drownings, 18 deaths (78%) occurred in motor vehicles (e.g., vehicle driven into standing water, vehicle swept away by water, or person found in car). As little as 6 inches of water might result in loss of control of a vehicle, and 2 feet of water can carry most cars away.”

The report suggests that “an evaluation of public health messages to drivers about avoiding flood waters might inform future prevention measures. Evaluation of the public’s reception and response to those messages, as well as an assessment of ascertainment of child deaths in disaster settings, might inform future prevention measures.”

Abbreviation: CO = carbon monoxide.
* Percentages might not sum to 100% because of rounding.
Exacerbation of a person’s preexisting medical condition because of storm-related power failure.
§ A direct death is defined as a death caused by environmental forces of the hurricane and direct consequences of these forces, whereas an indirect death is caused by unsafe or unhealthy conditions as a result of loss/disruption of usual services, personal loss, or lifestyle disruption.

[Table Credit: CDC]

After 3 days as a Category 3 and 4 hurricane in Haiti and Bahamas, Hurricane Matthew moved along the coast of the southeastern United States from October 6th to 8th, 2016. Early on October 8, the storm made landfall southeast of McClellanville, South Carolina, as a Category 1 hurricane with sustained winds of approximately 75 mph. This created massive coastal and inland flooding, particularly in North Carolina and South Carolina. Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia made major disaster declarations; approximately 2 million persons were under evacuation orders in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

For WeatherNation: Meteorologist Mace Michaels

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