2008 could be deadliest year ever for tornadoes

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UNDATED (AP) -- Just four years ago, the U.S. racked up more than 1,800 tornadoes during the course of the year. So far this year, there have been nearly 1,200.

While that number is likely to shrink when duplicate sightings are resolved, this year's twisters have been especially strong, killing 110 people so far. For instance, last weekend's tornado in Parkersburg, Iowa, was an EF-5 storm, the most powerful on the scale, with winds above 200 miles an hour. And, more than 20 tornadoes this year have been at the top end of the new Enhanced Fujita scale, rating a three or a four on the scale of one-to-five.

But why so many so early?

Experts can't say exactly, but if the number of storms continues at this pace, a new record will be set by year's end.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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