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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.

With April through July normally experiencing the highest tornado activity, 2012 may prove to be a destructive severe weather year, although S&P notes that basing such estimates on the activity to date may be premature.

Click “Next” to see images from affected states including Indiana, Missouri and Michigan.

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