The first half of 2008 has been a significant year in terms of tornadic weather in the U.S. Based on data from the Storm Prediction Center – the national authority on severe weather, the preliminary count of tornadoes so far this year is 1577 (the final figure usually ends up being about 70% of the prelim figure), which is almost 300 more than ALL of 2007 and more than any of the past 4 yearly totals! In fact, the yearly average number of tornadoes in the U.S. is 1000. Given the 70% actual to prelim ratio, we’ve already likely surpassed that average half way through the year.

The number of tornado deaths to date is also tragic – 118. That’s more than 2005-2006 combined and a 46% rise from last year’s total, and it’s only June… It’s also twice the average for an entire year. If you want to know more about tornadoes, visit the Storm Prediction Center’s Tornado FAQ page at Unfortunately, we’re smack in the middle of tornado season for the Upper Plains and Midwest, so a radical trend downwards anytime soon doesn’t appear likely.

If you are interested in seeing storm chasers and their tornado footage, check out Severe Studios . Their latest video shows two of their chasers literally shooting video as a tornado passes directly over! Also, check out for lots of cool chase video. Awesome stuff and very dangerous – don’t try this at home!

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