267 . . .

Number of tornadoes reported from 14 to 16 April 2011 across the U.S. South in preliminary totals compiled by NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center. The outbreak of severe weather, which moved with a potent upper-level storm from Oklahoma to North Carolina over a three-day period, took more than 40 lives. The three-day twister count was among the largest on record, though the total is expected to drop somewhat as duplicate reports are filtered out of the database.

Raleigh tornado from 16 April 2011
This photo of the Raleigh tornado from 16 April 2011 was taken by NCSU postdoctoral researcher Johannes Dahl using his iPhone. (Image courtesy Johannes Dahl.)

At North Carolina State University, severe-weather researchers found themselves eying a strong tornado from the roof of their building as it tore across southern Raleigh. “Doppler radar data suggest that we were on the north-northwest edge of what may have been the tornado cyclone,” says postdoctoral researcher Johannes Dahl, who took the photo at right. “It’s iPhone-through-a-wet-window quality,” he says, “but it reflects the dramatic atmosphere really well.”

A far larger and far more deadly outbreak struck near the end of April. For more details, see this NCAR & UCAR Currents post and NOAA's information site on the month's tornadoes.