Late last week, a series of tornadoes and storms swept through the Midwest and South, killing more than 30 people in Ohio, Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky and Indiana. Gusts up to 175 mph and heavy rains made it harder for rescue crews to find missing victims. Meteorologists fear that this year may be worse than 2011, when 550 people died from twisters—the highest number in a century according to the National Weather Service.

Crews and residents spent Sunday clearing debris, looking for loved ones, moving power lines, and securing shelter. An Indiana toddler whose mother, father, and two siblings were all killed was taken to a nearby hospital where she later passed. Some of the worst damage hit rural parts of southern Indiana and eastern Kentucky's Appalachian foothills. In West Liberty, Kentucky two patrol cars were picked up and crashed into the City Hall; Senator Mitch McConnell visited the town on Sunday calling it “total devastation” and the American Red Cross is housing 115 residents at a local shelter. President Obama issued a statement promising to provide federal assistance for the damage.

Would more rural shelters be the answer to avoiding deaths or are natural disasters simply unavoidable? Also, are these violent storms related to the uncharacteristically warm winter most of the country is experiencing?