10 Worst Ways History Has Repeated Itself

A woman stands amid rubble in the wake of a 1998 tornado that tore through Harvest, Alabama -- one of four to hit the town between 1974 and 2012. STEVEN R. SCHAEFER/AFP/Getty Images

Tornadoes are bad news. These storms have proven time and time again that they can level large swaths of communities unfortunate enough to fall in their path. Because of this deadly potential, people in the American South routinely flee to basements, closets and bathrooms when severe weather threatens. Usually, it's a false alarm. But sometimes a twister does touch down. And every great once in a while, one will strike twice in just a few years, months or even hours.

One such repeat happened in Harvest, Alabama, in March 2012. The town, which had just been hit by a tornado the previous April, found itself in the crosshairs of another powerful storm. Following a path nearly identical to the one before it, a tornado destroyed many of the same homes that had been repaired or rebuilt since the last disaster. Incredibly, this was the fourth tornado to hit Harvest since 1974 [source: Ariosto].

Even less likely was the string of three tornadoes that hit Codell, Kansas, in 1916, 1917 and 1918. Not only did they strike during three consecutive years, but they all happened on the same day: May 20. The first two twisters, rated F2 and F3, didn't take any lives and caused only minimal damage. But the third was a powerful F4 that tore straight through the middle of town. Again, no one was killed — perhaps because the town had wised up to the weather's repeat antics [source: Kansas Historical Society].