Dozens of tornadoes killed 22 across Missouri, Oklahoma and Georgia this weekend. The town of Kite, Ga. (pop. 200) was wiped off the map, emergency workers told CNN.
The tornadoes came just three days after tornadoes left one dead in North Carolina and flattened a mall in Mississippi.
This is just the latest spate of killer tornadoes in the United States this year.
The 814 reported tornadoes through May 8 (not including the killer storms from this weekend) is far ahead of the total typically seen by this time of year. It's been July by the time this many tornadoes have typically been recorded, according to the Storm Prediction Center.
The U.S. has already been hit by 64% of the tornadoes expected in a typical year, according to the 10-year average. The year is only about 34% through, and we've only just entered the typical tornado season. 2008 has been unusual because the winter produced so many damaging storms.
However, the preliminary count used to make these comparisons is somewhat inflated. Experts expect the final count to be somewhat lower, given that the same storm can be reported several times, and so over-counted.
Still, this could be a harbinger of things to come. Some scientists have warned that global warming will create conditions that make violent tornadoes more frequent.
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