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Tornadoes, Way Above Average in Number

Several weeks of unusual and severe weather in the U.S. are not being specifically linked to global warming but they are causing damage in large parts of the United States.

North, South, East and West: unusually severe weather across North America has been claiming homes, businesses and lives. Across the South and Midwestern United States particularly, people have been bracing for, cleaning up from, or weathering violent storms almost without relief. So far this year nearly 400 tornadoes there, about four times more than during the same period in 2005.

“It's devastating. I have never actually experienced one of these,” says one storm victim. “Everybody's scared to death right now,' says another.

Government meteorologist Dan McCarthy says, "So far in 2006 this is way above average."

Unofficially, the storm season begins in April or May. On average, there are about 85 damaging tornadoes reported each year in the United States

Scientists say this current cycle is the result of a remarkably warm winter in the South, and warmer than usual temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico. When moist weather in the South, collides with cold fronts from the North and West, the result is: funnel clouds and tornadoes.

Scientists are not suggesting the severe U.S. weather is a direct result of global warming trends or conditions, only that these weather patterns are likely to continue as is for the near future.