What is the greatest number of deaths caused by a hurricane?

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Dear Tom,

What is the greatest number of deaths caused by a hurricane?

Bob Fisher

Dear Bob,

The maximum number is questionable, but the single greatest number of deaths resulting from a hurricane is in excess of 325,000 (possibly as high as 500,000) in the Bhola Cyclone (hurricane) of Nov. 11-12, 1970, in what is now Bangladesh. The storm, accompanied by 145 mph winds, came ashore with a 20-25 foot surge that swept miles inland over densely populated areas that lay less than 10 feet above sea level. Two other hurricanes in India, in 1737 and 1839, each killed an estimated 300,000 people. The Great Hurricane of Oct. 10-16, 1780 in the Lesser Antilles, Puerto Rico and Hispaniola caused at least 20,000 deaths. On Oct. 28-31, 1998, 19,235 died in Hurricane Mitch and resultant flooding in Central America.