Fifteen Georgians were among the hundreds who lost their lives in the deadly string of tornadoes that recently tore through the Southeast.

Thousands more escaped with little more than their lives as storms left cities in ruins from Texas to Virginia.

The life and strength of the tornadoes led to the massive destruction, according to Pam Knox, Georgia’s assistant state climatologist.

“Most tornadoes travel for about a mile. Some of these tornadoes had tracks that were 80 miles or longer,” she said. “All of the ingredients were perfect for building tornadoes. We had temperatures in the 80s and high humidity. Warm temperatures and moisture act as energy for storms.”

Southern tornadoes tend to be deadlier than those occurring in other regions because of the large amount of forestland in the South (Georgia is 70 percent forest). And many residents live in mobile homes or don’t have adequate sheltered protection.