ATLANTA -- So far the tornadoes this week are known to have killed 15 people in Georgia.
The tornadoes were part of a storm system that is the deadliest the South has seen since 1932, despite the sirens, media warnings and other fruits of 21st Century technology.
The death toll rose to 343 Saturday, according to an NBC News count, making the tornado outbreak the second deadliest ever recorded in the U.S.
That number could rise with hundreds of people apparently still missing following the disaster.
In Tuscaloosa, Ala., alone, up to 446 people were still unaccounted for in the city, though Mayor Walt Maddox said many of those reports probably were from people who have since found their loved ones but have not notified authorities.
The number of deaths has now surpassed that of a twister outbreak that hit Alabama in March 1932, killing 332 people.
The largest death toll ever was on March 18, 1925, when 747 people were killed in storms that raged through Missouri, Illinois and Indiana.
The 1925 outbreak was long before the days when Doppler radar could warn communities of severe weather.
Forecasters have said residents were told the latest tornadoes were coming, but the twisters were just too wide and powerful and in populated areas to avoid a horrifying body count.
Lisa Janak of the Georgia Emergency Management Agency told 11Alive News Friday that Georgia has been racking up a frightening list of natural-disaster "worsts" over the past four years.
Here is her assessment of a few of the notable record-setters:
"Clearly, Mother Nature is becoming much more violent. Much more unpredictable.
From 1953 until 1990, we had 13 federally-declared disasters [in Georgia]. But since 1990, we've had 21 federally-declared disasters [so far].
In March, 2007, we had the worst tornado outbreak ever recorded in Georgia's history. We had 21 tornadoes, a record 21 tornadoes. We had nine people killed. Sumter Regional Hospital [in Americus] was destroyed.
In April, 2007, we had the worst wildfires in Georgia's history.
In 2008, we had the worst drought in Georgia's history.
In March, 2008, we had the first tornado in Georgia's history to strike downtown Atlanta.
And at least 20 tornados touched down on Mother's Day [May, 2008], making it one of the worst storms in history, in Georgia's history.
And then in the Sping of 2009 [prior to the epoch floods in Metro Atlanta in September] we had a round of flooding, 46 counties were declared disaster [areas].
Record-setting storms. Worst in Georgia's history.
One death in Georgia is too many. What's striking about this storm [on Wednesday] is the ferocity of the tornadoes. We had a rare, EF-4 tornado [in Catoosa County, including the City of Ringgold], which is only the ninth to strike in Georgia's history [in addition to multiple EF-3 tornadoes elsewhere in the state].
Even in the so-called small, 'minor' tornadoes, it's the flying debris that can kill you. So you just want to make sure that you're doing everything you can to protect your vulnerable areas of your body, your head and your neck.
Government can do so much with the warnings. And the news media can only do so much. But in the end, citizens have to take action. They have to make themselves aware of the watches and warnings, they have to take them seriously. They have to take cover. We urge everybody to get a NOAA weather radio, so they receive these alerts even if they're sleeping."
MSNBC.com contributed to this article.