Inside the Tornado Triangle

Residents in the Midwest and South are keeping a close eye on the skies this morning, with experts warning that some of the worst storms in 30 years could hit the area today.

Punishing rain, hail and powerful 70-mph winds already swept through Texas and Oklahoma Wednesday and early this morning, tearing the tops off homes and buildings.

The violent weather this spring is part of a strong new system with jet stream winds pushing west into Texas and southeast winds pushing warm humid air across the South, creating ideal conditions for tornadoes.

Experts warn the situation will get worse before it gets better.

"We're at the early stages of an unfolding major severe weather outbreak across the central part of the United States," said Harold Brooks, a meteorologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. "The outbreak this week is likely to be one of the biggest events of the year."

This tornado zone extends as far north as Michigan and through the heartland to Arkansas and Texas.

There have been a staggering 500 tornadoes recorded this year, killing 69 people and causing untold millions in damage.

Last month a monster twister tore a six-mile path of destruction through downtown Atlanta.

Tornadoes aren't the only weather danger facing the region -- golf ball-size hail has rained down on Texas, covering highways and smashing car windows; heavy rains have flooded homes and threatened levees in Louisiana; and flash floods have forced homeowners from West Virginia to Oklahoma to evacuate their homes by boat.