Courtesy of the NWS' Storm Prediction Center in Norman Oklahoma- is the tornado count- tornado deaths and number of killer tornadoes reported in the United States through June 3.
The number of dead does not take into account the most recent fatalities from the Joplin MO Tornado of May 22- 4 people have died of the injuries this weekend- bringing the total death count from that devastating EF-5 twister to 141.
Add those 4 to the June 3rd death count and the total tornado deaths so far in 2011 have reached a staggering total of 527.
That's the biggest death toll for more than 4 generations!
You may also note the number of tornadoes- although "preliminary-" reported thus far with 2011 not even halfway over: 1429.
The only year of the past three with more TOTAL tornadoes was 2008 with 1692- and this year's preliminary total ALREADY surpasses the 3-year average by more than 50 tornadoes.
As we move toward summer- the "tornado season" moves into the northern U.S.- and although the tornado season in the central and southern states never actually "ends-" the threat of the terribly-destructive EF-4 and 5 twisters decreases dramatically as the upper winds or 'jet stream' moves northward.
It is my hope that none of this year's tornado victims died in vain- but served to create a new and heightened public awareness of severe weather.