Texas tornadoes: Airport hit as Dallas counts cost

Apr 06 2012

US officials in Texas are assessing the damage after as many as a dozen tornadoes swept through densely populated areas of Dallas-Fort Worth.

Thousands of passengers are stranded at the the city's airport, with some 424 flights cancelled.

Several people have been injured, but no fatalities have been reported.

April is the peak of tornado season, which lasts from March to June, but meteorologists say this year has seen more twisters than normal.

Extra mechanics have been flown into Dallas-Fort Worth International, the eighth-busiest airport in the world in terms of passengers, to inspect planes buffeted by Tuesday's hailstorms.

American Airlines had grounded 80 planes and by 07:00 local time on Wednesday (12:00 GMT) about 14 planes had been inspected and cleared.

But some aircraft had been damaged by the storms, spokeswoman Andrea Huguelytold the Dallas Morning News newspaper.

An airport spokesman said that 1,400 passengers stayed in the terminal building overnight.

"The airport distributed cots, blankets, pillows and toiletry kits to passengers who requested them, and the local chapter of the American Red Cross assisted with additional blankets," David Magana told the newspaper.

"Thousands of other passengers went to area hotels or made other arrangements for lodging."

American Airlines has also cancelled some of its arrivals on Thursday.

'Windows flying'

In Lancaster, the Dallas suburb hit directly by the tornadoes, police said 10 people had been injured, two severely.

The Arlington fire department said three people were reported to be injured there.

The Red Cross estimated that 650 homes had been destroyed in the town and about 150 stayed in a shelter overnight.

"I guess 'shock' is probably a good word," Lancaster Mayor Marcus Knight told the Associated Press news agency.

Video footage on Tuesday showed articulated lorries spinning through the air and houses that had been reduced to piles of debris.

One woman, Joy Johnson, told the Associated Press that she had been visiting her sister at the Green Oaks nursing home in Arlington when the tornado hit. An entire wing of the nursing home collapsed in the storm.

"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," she said.

Power supply was cut off in some parts in the wake of the storm, and Utility Oncor said that nearly 14,000 customers were still without electricity early on Wednesday morning.

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Reproduced under licence from BBC News 2012 BBC

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