Weather

Dallas tornado destroys homes, businesses; thousands without power

Crews were surveying the damage caused by a long-range tornado that ripped across Dallas and into Richardson on Sunday.

Radar confirmed the tornado struck near Love Field Airport and moved northeast through the city around 9 p.m. Sunday, National Weather Service meteorologist Jason Godwin told The Associated Press. Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson said no fatalities or serious injuries have been reported.

“I think we should consider ourselves very fortunate that we did not lose any lives — no fatalities and no serious injuries – in last night’s storms. I think we should all be very grateful for that,” Johnson said.

Angela Boston said she crawled with her daughters to a closet when wind and rain starting bearing down on their home just north of Walnut Hill Lane.

“There was no time for a warning,” she said Monday morning while surveying the damage.

The back of her house is gone.

The fence is in crumbles.

Tree limbs cover her front yard.

Boston and her family had just gotten home from the Texas State Fair when they decided to heat up some leftovers and sit down to watch the Dallas Cowboys game.

That’s when a tornado fell from the sky and cut through 17 miles of north Dallas.

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Utility poles lay in the street after a tornado Monday, Oct. 21, 2019, near Walnut Hill Lane in Northwest Dallas. Yffy Yossifor yyossifor@star-telegram.com

A tree fell on his house and several cars parked in the street. An uprooted tree filled his neighbor’s front yard.

He, like Boston, was at home watching the Cowboys.

“We heard popping and trees falling and then the windows broke,” he said. “The first thing we did was just drop.”

Boston and Juarez have a similar story as many of their neighbors. Most were at home watching football when “all of the sudden” the sky fell on them. They received little warning and hadn’t expected the worst.

“We got a warning on our cellphones but that was it,” Dennis Martinez said.

Across the street from his house on Kinkaid Drive, power lines wrapped around a black pickup truck and a giant hole could be seen in the roof of David G. Burnet Elementary.

The neighbors all have at least a third thing in common: They’re thankful they’re OK.

“You can replace a house,” Boston said, saying it’s a miracle no one was killed.

“If you didn’t believe in miracles before, believe now,” she said.

Roofs were blown off homes and two-story townhouses are reduced to their first floor in a neighborhood along Glenrio Lane north of Walnut Hill Lane.

Residents were digging through what was salvageable while trying to cut through fallen trees.

One woman, who didn’t give her name, said she feels unsafe digging through her friend’s destroyed townhome, but said she’s thankful no one was seriously injured.

Much of Walnut Lane has been closed, causing traffic snarls that have been ongoing for hours.

Dallas police have blocked off several businesses along Walnut Hill Lane as fire and rescue crews continue to clean and make the area safe.

The Planet Fitness behind a CVS at Walnut Hill and Marsh lanes appears to be gone. DD’s Discount no longer has part of its roof. Across the street, boards covered the blown out windows at Velvet Elvis Lounge. In the parking lot, a truck carrying a trailer was blown over and landed on a Jeep.

About 55,000 electric customers are without power in Dallas and another 40,000 in the surrounding area, according to Connie Piloto, a spokeswoman for utility Oncor.

Citing extensive damage to campuses, the Dallas Independent School District canceled Monday classes at several schools. Richardson canceled classes at all its schools.

Seven people escaped a structure that collapsed in northwest Dallas, but Dallas Fire-Rescue were searching to see if anyone was left inside, Fire-Rescue spokesman Jason Evans told the AP.. WFAA-TV reported that a convenience store collapsed in the storm, but the clerk told the station that everyone who was inside made it out safely.

Evans said that the department had also received multiple calls from people injured in their homes by broken glass.

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A parishioner looks over the damage after a tornado Monday, Oct. 21, 2019, at Primera Iglesia Bautista de Dallas in Northwest Dallas. Yffy Yossifor yyossifor@star-telegram.com

On Twitter, Dallas Fire-Rescue said one of its own stations sustained significant damage during the storms overnight, and included photos that appeared to show a collapsed roof and debris. Evans said none of the firefighters at Station 41 were hurt, but said the roof was torn off by the high winds.

At 7:30 a.m., the city of Dallas said there were 100 signal lights still without power. Eighty-five signals are flashing.

Dallas Stars player Tyler Seguin’s home near the Dallas North Tollway and Royal Lane was damaged. Photos show the roof was been blown off with damage strewn across the lawn.

“I am safe,” Seguin said on Twitter. “Luckily this is my house for sale and I have moved into a new one. I just left the area and it is an extremely sad sight to see. Prayers to everyone affected by the tornado.”

Numerous other homes were also damaged in the Preston Hollow neighborhood.

Dallas Fire and Rescue’s station 41 on Royal Lane also received significant damage, the station reported on Monday morning. Photos show the roof is gone over the firetruck bay.

The city of Rockwall said the storms caused damage to multiple homes and knocked out power.

Godwin, the meteorologist, said the size and severity of the tornado won’t be known until crews arrive to survey the damage. NWS warning coordination meteorologist Jennifer Dunn told the AP there may have been two or more tornadoes in north Texas, but reiterated that the extent wouldn’t be known until later Monday afternoon.

Sachse said in a release that six houses were damaged from the storms, but no injuries were reported.



The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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