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Tornado outbreak is possibly the deadliest in 37 years

The nation's Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., reports that tornadoes this year have already claimed more lives than all of last year, possibly making this the deadliest tornado outbreak since the 1974.

A resident searches through what is left of his home Thursday after a tornado hit a day earlier in Pleasant Grove, just west of downtown Birmingham, Ala.

Butch Dill/AP

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Killer tornadoes during the first four months of this year have already claimed more lives than all of last year, possibly making this the deadliest tornado outbreak since the Super Outbreak of 1974, according to the nation's Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla.

The death toll had surpassed last year’s before deadly storms pounded the South last night (April 27), devastating Tuscaloosa, Ala. Earlier this week, a one-two tornado punch in Arkansas pushed this year's death toll to 51, topping the 45 killed last year.

Last night, nearly 100 reported tornadoes may have claimed another 100 lives in Dixie Alley, a historic tornado outbreak in what could be a record-breaking month for twisters.

"Never, in 32 years forecasting, have I seen as many violent tornadoes indicated on radar at one time as I did today," wrote Alabama meteorologist Dan Satterfield on his American Geophysical Union blog.

Southern tornadoes are so deadly because they are hard to see, such as last night's reported nighttime tornadoes in North Georgia and the rain-cloaked tornadoes in Tuscaloosa and Birmingham, Ala. Mobile homes, which are easily flipped or crushed, are common in the region, potentially adding to the high death toll. [In Images: The Tornado Damage Scale]

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