Tornadoes rip through Dallas area

2012-04-03 22:47
This frame grab provided by KDFW-TV shows tornado damage at the Flying J truck Tuesday, in Lancaster. (AP Photo/KDFW-TV)

This frame grab provided by KDFW-TV shows tornado damage at the Flying J truck Tuesday, in Lancaster. (AP Photo/KDFW-TV)

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Dallas - Tornadoes tore through the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area in Texas on Tuesday, ripping apart buildings, tossing tractor trailer trucks into the air and grounding all planes in the region.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or deaths although the storm was still active.

One tornado tore through the Flying J Truck Plaza in Dallas, grabbing two trailer trucks and tossing them, said truck driver Michael Glennon, who caught the destruction on his video camera as debris swirled through the air.

"The second trailer is ripped to pieces and thrown 15 to 30m into the air," he said.

National Weather Service meteorologist Amber Elliott said there were "reports of wall clouds and funnel clouds all over the area. It's an extremely dangerous situation."

All planes were grounded at Dallas-Fort Worth International airport, the eighth busiest in the world, because of reports of storms and tornadoes, American Airlines spokesman Tim Smith said.

Dallas-Fort Worth airport spokesman David Magana said officials ordered passengers away from windows and directed them into stairwells and restrooms.

At the nearby Omni Mandalay Las Colinas hotel, tornado sirens sounded, alerting guests to get to safety.

"The hotel has not been evacuated but we do have guests under cover," said a telephone receptionist at 421-room hotel.

WFAA television in Dallas aired footage showing residents in one hard-hit neighborhood frantically directing a policeman, who appeared to be searching for people trapped by the storm.

The surrounding streets were littered with fallen trees and other storm-generated debris.

CNN showed video from Dallas County showing a residential neighbourhood where many homes had sustained serious structural damage, some missing their roofs or second storeys missing, some reduced to rubble.

Video of a parking lot of a trucking company showed large trucks piled on top of one another, and some had their roofs ripped off.

The reports of tornadoes followed a "tornado emergency" declared by the National Weather Service for the Dallas-Fort Worth area of Texas on Tuesday.

"Two tornadoes are currently affecting the DFW metroplex. Take cover now!" said a warning on the National Weather Service website.

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