2008 is shaping up to be an extraordinary year for U.S. tornadoes.
The running total for the year is running a stunning 153% above the average over the preceding three years. There have been 473 reported tornadoes, compared to an average of 187.
While the number for 2008 is preliminary, and could over-estimate the number if multiple reports have been logged for the same storm, one figure can't be mistaken: the death toll.
The 69 deaths by tornado in 2008 to date is second only to 1971, when 137 people had died from tornadoes by this time of the year.
Some scientists have predicted that tornado activity will increase with global warming.
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