The first three months of the calendar year are generally a very quiet time for tornado outbreaks. So far, 2012 has been an exception.
According to Standard & Poor's, there have been 272 confirmed tornadoes so far in 2012. The severe weather has destroyed homes and businesses—and in some instances leveled entire towns—throughout the Midwest and South.
Residents comb through debris looking for personal belongings after a tornado ripped Trussville, Ala. on Monday, Jan. 23, 2012.
Sherry Cousins and her brother Bruce Wallace of Hollister, Mo., sit in the wreckage of their secondhand store in the country music resort city of Branson, Mo.
An employee of Henryville High School examines the remains of the building after it was destroyed by a tornado on March 2, 2012, in Henryville, Ind.
A home is destroyed in Athens, Ala. after a tornado from the same powerful storms that wrecked Henryville, Ind. passed through on March 2, 2012.
Robert Elliott sits in his damaged kitchen after a tornado struck his home in Harrison, Tenn., March 3, 2012.
Ashley King and her son Dallas King look around a damaged house after a tornado struck in Marysville, Ind., March 4, 2012. Calm weather gave dazed residents of storm-wracked towns a respite as they dug out from a chain of tornadoes that cut a swath of destruction from the Midwest to the Gulf of Mexico.
A resident sits on her back porch watching workers use heavy equipment to pick up the remains of a neighbor’s home that was destroyed by a tornado on Tuesday, March 6, 2012, in Moscow, Ohio.
Katie Cramer looks over the front of her house in Dexter, Mich., March 16, 2012 after a tornado touched down the night before, damaging or demolishing many homes, downing trees and power lines.