Last week's tornadoes worst in U.S. since 1974 - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Last week's tornadoes worst in U.S. since 1974

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - It's been a week since a massive storm took the lives of hundreds and left thousands homeless. Let's examine some of the staggering numbers to put in perspective just how historic this storm was.

Last week's storm has made history.  The previous record number of tornadoes in the United States in April was 267.  This past month, more than 600.  Many of us grew up learning about the deadly tornado outbreak of 1974.  Now our children will be learning about the deadly tornado outbreak of 2011.

Preliminary reports from NOAA indicate there were 312 tornadoes and 344 deaths across the country -- the second deadliest two-day outbreak since April 1936.

Records were also broken in Virginia.  Last week, 16 tornadoes touched down across the Commonwealth, killing seven people -- the second deadliest on record dating back to 1950.  Virginia hasn't had a killer tornado since April 1, 1998.

There is some good to be taken from this.  The National Weather Service states they issued tornado warnings with an average lead time of 24 minutes, saving countless lives.  They also issued tornado warnings for over 90 percent of the tornadoes that touched down.

May is the typical peak month of tornadoes. So make sure you have an action plan for you and your family before the next severe weather event occurs.

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