To give readers some idea of how large Texas is, the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex is having one of those days — multiple tornadoes have touched down and there are reports of damage from points west of downtown Dallas such as Six Flags in Arlington, to points east in Mesquite, and places in between. American Airlines has shut down its operations at DFW airport for the remains of the day, and DFW is AA’s operational hub. A large metro area is dealing with a large cell of powerful storms. Yet in central Texas where I happen to be, skies are partly cloudy and kids are out of school now, and running around the streets.
No one has a handle on the extent of the damage yet. I’ve contacted family and friends in the area and so far, all is well.
The images we’re seeing on the news show damage to homes and an ongoing threat. Anyone reading this, heed the warnings.
Update: Here’s video of one of the twisters, touching down in Glenn Heights, TX. That’s between Dallas and Waxahachie, the whole area is home to roughly five or six million people.
Update: WFAA TV in Dallas captured video of a tornado tossing a tractor-trailer like a feather. Texans deal with tornadoes all the time, but you never get used to seeing something like that.
Update: Another twister captured live on the Weather Channel. It’s a big one. Unreal.
Update: Live video feed here from KXAS TV in Dallas. They just reported a tornado touchdown near Royce City, which is north east of Dallas in Hunt County.
Update (4:59 central): The tornado system has moved north and east and is bearing down on Greenville, headed toward Paris. KXAS meteorologist David Finfrock has been on the live feed all afternoon. He has worked in the Dallas area for decades, and a few minutes ago he said he had never seen both Dallas and Tarrant counties have simultaneous tornado emergencies — tornadoes touching down in both cities at the same time. But it happened today. Tarrant County is where Fort Worth is, Dallas and Fort Worth are about 30 miles apart.
Update: Arlington and Lancaster, TX have been declared disaster areas as a result of the tornado damage. Arlington is where the Cowboys and Rangers play, west of Dallas. Lancaster is southeast of Dallas near my home town. Lancaster was hit hard by a tornado in 1994, much of its historic downtown area was destroyed.
Update (5:29): Tornado warnings have expired across the Dallas area. So far, it looks like five separate tornadoes touched down across the metroplex today, carving swaths of damage from Kennedale to Lancaster. Major damage to homes reported in Forney. Baseball size hail was reported in Coppell. The storm system looks like it’s weakening as it heads northeast but the threat of powerful thunderstorms will stick around the region for a while. Miraculously, though there is extensive property damage, no casualties have been reported.
There’s a reason they named the old NASL team the Dallas Tornado. When we get tornadoes, we don’t mess around.
Update: Now they’re saying that 12 tornadoes struck north Texas today. Here’s the photo of the day.