There has already been more tornadoes in Tornado Alley this year than the average total for a typical year. With hundreds killed and billions of dollars of damage so far, the 2011 tornado season is off to a horrific start and one can only hope that it’s a blip in meteorological history. The residents of Joplin, Missouri witnessed one of the most intense tornadic events in that state’s history with F4 and F5 tornadoes ripping through, among other areas, the city of Joplin on Sunday May 22, 2011. Below is an animaged GIF showing satellite footage of what was happening in the skies over that part of the world that day. It provides a good understanding of just how fast these monsters can grow. I’ve also attached two photos from a dramatic photo gallery of that day’s events, and to see more be sure to visit National Geographic.