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As experts assessed reports that up to 18 tornadoes hit the Dallas area on Tuesday, the cleanup and rebuilding began Wednesday for thousands of residents from the more than 800 homes destroyed or damaged.

The tornado season typically starts around now, but 2012 has already seen multiple deadly twisters.

"We're at just the beginning of a very unusual" tornado season, NBC weather anchor Al Roker said on TODAY. April 2011 saw a record 758 tornadoes, he added, "hopefully we're not on track for that this year."

The season is already "running about 50 percent above average for the number of tornadoes," weather.com meteorologist Greg Forbes told TODAY. "We've had record heat ... that warmth is a big ingredient that provides the instability for the storms."

In North Texas, the National Weather Service on Wednesday was investigating reports that up to 18 tornadoes touched down during a relatively short time frame.

Among the hardest cities hit were the Dallas suburbs of Arlington, where more than 400 homes were damaged, and Lancaster, where some 300 structures were damaged and 10 people were injured, two seriously, according to NBCDFW.com.

Posted 12:44 PM

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