US tornado toll hits 153

That brings the year's total to 538 tornado fatalities, making 2011 the deadliest tornado season since 1927 and the fifth worst on record, according to the national weather service.

Two bad days accounted for nearly all the deaths: an outbreak of dozens of tornadoes that killed 314 people in five states on April 27 and the massive twister that struck Joplin on May 22.

The nearly mile-wide twister packing winds of more than 200 miles per hour cut a six-mile (nearly 10 kilometer) swath of destruction through the town of 50,000 people.

Officials predict it will cost billions to repair the physical damage caused by the deadly twisters and months for life to return to normal.

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