Tornadoes Do Damage in Dallas-Fort Worth Area

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

DALLAS (AP) - Tornadoes and violent storms raked through the
Dallas area Tuesday, crumbling the wing of a nursing home, peeling
roofs from dozens of homes and spiraling big-rig trailers into the
air like footballs. More than a dozen injuries were reported.

Overturned cars left streets unnavigable and flattened trucks
clogged highway shoulders. Preliminary estimates were that six to
12 tornadoes had touched down in North Texas, senior National
Weather Service meteorologist Eric Martello said. But firm numbers
would only come after survey teams checked damage Wednesday, he
said.

In suburban Dallas, Lancaster Police officer Paul Beck said 10
people were injured, two of them severely. Three people were
injured in Arlington, including two residents of a nursing home who
were taken to a hospital with minor injuries after swirling winds
clipped the building, city assistant fire chief Jim Self said.

"Of course the windows were flying out, and my sister is
paralyzed, so I had to get someone to help me get her in a
wheelchair to get her out of the room," said Joy Johnston, who was
visiting her 79-year-old sister at the Green Oaks Nursing and
Rehabilitation Center. "It was terribly loud."

Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport canceled hundreds of
flights and diverted others heading its way. Among the most
stunning video was an industrial section of Dallas, where rows of
empty tractor-trailers crumpled like soda cans littered a parking
lot.

"The officers were watching the tornadoes form and drop,"
Kennedale police Chief Tommy Williams said. "It was pretty active
for a while."

The confirmed tornadoes touched down near Royce City and Silver
Springs, said National Weather Service meteorologist Matt Bishop. A
tornado watch remained in effect until 8 p.m.

April is the peak of the tornado season that runs from March
until June. Bishop said Tuesday's storms suggest that "we're on
pace to be above normal."

Johnston said her sister was taken to the hospital because of
her delicate health. Another resident at the nursing home, Louella
Curtis, 92, said workers roused her out of bed and put her in the
hall.

"The hallways were all jammed," Johnston said. "Everyone was
trying to help each other to make a path for others. I'd say
everybody was out of their rooms within 20 minutes."

Most of Dallas was spared the full wrath of the storm. Yet in
Lancaster, television helicopters panned over exposed homes without
roofs and flattened buildings. Broken sheets of plywood blanketed
lawns and covered rooftops.

A pastor at one Lancaster church saw debris swirling in the
wind, then herded more than 30 children, some as young as newborns, into a windowless room to ride out the storm. Nearby at the
church's school, about 60 more children hid in another windowless
room near the women's bathroom.

An entire wall of Cedar Valley Christian Academy wound up being
taken out in the storm. Pastor Glenn Young said he didn't know when
the school might re-open.

"I'm a little concerned," Young said. "This is our
livelihood."

Residents could be seen walking down the street with
firefighters and peering into homes, looking at the damage after
the storm passed.

Devlin Norwood said he was at his Lancaster home when he heard
the storm sirens. He said he made a quick trip to a nearby store
when he saw the funnel-shaped tornado lower, kick up debris and
head toward his neighborhood.

"I didn't see any damage until I got back home. We had trees
destroyed, fences down, boards down, boards penetrating the roof
and the house, shingles damaged," said Norwood, 50, an accountant
and graduate student.

The storm pushed cars into fences and toppled trees. Branches
and limbs scattered across lawns and residential streets, and in
one driveway, a tow-behind RV was left torn apart and crumpled.

"Obviously we're going to have a lot of assessments to make
when this is done," Dallas County spokeswoman Maria Arita said.

American Airlines canceled more than 450 arriving and departing
flights at it hub airport by late Tuesday afternoon, and 37 other
incoming flights had been diverted to different airports.

DFW Airport spokesman David Magana said more than 110 planes
were damaged by hail. It wasn't clear how many belonged to American
Airlines, but American and American Eagle had pulled 101 planes out
of service for hail-damage inspections.

Flights also were canceled at Dallas Love Field, which is a big
base for Southwest Airlines. That airline canceled more than 45
flights in and out of the airport by Tuesday evening.

Meteorologists said the storms were the result of slow-moving
storm system centered over northern New Mexico.


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