More than a dozen hurt as tornadoes rip through Texas
Published Tuesday, April 3, 2012 11:16PM EDT
Tornadoes tore through the Dallas-Fort Worth area of Texas on Tuesday, leaving a swath of destruction across a wide area of the region and prompting officials to declare a state of emergency.
The National Weather Service estimates that between six and 12 tornadoes touched down in northern Texas.
Police said at least 12 people were injured in the Dallas area, two of them seriously. Two residents of a nursing home were taken to hospital with minor injuries after strong winds damaged the building.
Television footage and highway video cameras showed a large, dark funnel cloud moving on the ground not far from a major interstate early Tuesday afternoon. Tractor trailers were seen strewn about a Dallas County parking lot, while other crumpled trailers were scattered along the sides of highways and access roads.
The weather agency warned that "severe thunderstorms containing very large hail, damaging winds and frequent cloud to ground lightning are continuing across the eastern two thirds of north Texas."
It said strong tornadoes were possible with "discrete supercell thunderstorms" that occur ahead of the main line of storms. The greatest threat for these supercells was expected to be along and east of Interstate 35.
Television footage from local news channels showed homes with their roofs ripped off while other buildings were destroyed. Branches and limbs were scattered across lawns as well as in the streets.
"Obviously we're going to have a lot of assessments to make when this is done," Dallas County spokeswoman Maria Arita told The Associated Press.
Church pastor Glenn Young said he gathered more than 30 children in a windowless room when he saw the funnel clouds in the suburb of Lancaster.
The winds brought down a wall of the Cedar Valley Christian Academy and Young said he doesn't know when the school will be able to reopen.
"I'm a little concerned," he said. "This is our livelihood."
Devlin Norwood told The Associated Press he was at his Lancaster home when he heard the storm sirens. Rushing to a nearby store to get supplies, he said he saw the tornado kick up debris and head toward his neighbourhood.
"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," Norwood said.
Dallas Police spokeswoman Sherri Jeffrey confirmed that an apparent twister also touched down and caused damage within the city's southern limits, though the extent was not immediately known.
The weather service said "considerable damage" was reported near Cleburne, south of Fort Worth, and Lancaster, south of Dallas.
Hundreds of flights to and from Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport were cancelled.
With files from The Associated Press