A slow-moving but intense tornado system hit Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas on Tuesday. The Red Cross estimates that 650 homes were damaged. A number of buildings were ripped apart or demolished as trees were uprooted and vehicles tossed into the air. But amazingly, only a handful of people have been hurt, and there have been no reported casualties. Around 150 residents stayed overnight at Lancaster Shelter Center on Tuesday night.
Since Tuesday, nine separate tornado warnings have been issued. Even with April being typically the worst month in a tornado season, National Weather Service meteorologist Matt Bishop thinks this early outbreak is “on pace to be above normal.”
Meteorologists think a slow-moving storm system centered over northern New Mexico caused the storms. “As many as a dozen twisters touched down in a wrecking-ball swath of violent weather that stretched across Dallas and Fort Worth,” according to the National Weather Service.
The service also confirmed that three tornadoes of at least EF-2 intensity touched down near Dallas and Fort Worth. EF-2 tornadoes are characterized as having gusts of wind, lasting three seconds each, that reach 111 miles per hour. The EF scale goes from 0 to 5.
More than 110 aircraft sustained damage from a bout of sizable hail. 400 departures were canceled and 40 incoming flights were diverted, Dallas-Fort Worth Airport said in a statement to Reuters. Airport spokesman David Magana said officials ordered passengers away from windows and directed them into stairwells and restrooms.
Dr. Greg Forbes of the Weather Channel noted on MSNBC that the localization of the tornadoes was “odd.” But he also noted that the occurrence has a historical precedent. On April 3rd, 1974, 148 tornados touched down in 13 states within the span of a day. It is known now as the “Super Outbreak” of tornadoes.