During the events of The Second Storm, people all over the world developed superpowers and were soon taken over by Maximillian Mars. The newly created meta-humans were used as a slave army to take over the world in a few hours. Every city, state, and nation in the world capitulated within one day.
Everywhere, that is, except for the southern United States. In the South, non-meta-humans, unaware of what had happend to their family and friends to turn them into superpowered monsters, took up arms to defend themselves. They refused to go down without a fight. Using the vast arsenal that existed in nearly every closet, basement, and fall-out shelter, the South rose up and fought back.
Mathematicians calculate that with the number of people who became stormers that day, that the South probably had at least 20 high-end energy wielders. The fighting resulted in many of them being shot and killed, which unfortunately unleased terrible energies upon the face of the land. The resulting damage was similar to many nuclear devices being set off throughout the South.
The South became a wasteland, completely incapable of supporting any life. There were a few areas untouched by the explosions, but when storms moved the radiation around the South, nearly every area was hit. The U.S. Government, having just survived a coup, now had to deal with much of the crop and game areas of the nation now destroyed, along with the loss of life.
While the U.S. recovered, the South was written off as a wasteland. A few stormers, in an effort to find personal redemption, have made it their job to clean up the South. While progress has been made, it is suspected that decades, if not centuries will pass before the scars are completely healed over and forgotten.
In the wake of the destruction of the South, a group calling themselves the Humanists formed. They take the stance that no one should ever have so much power.