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Texas tornadoes disrupt airline flights, cut off electricity

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About 1,400 people slept in airport terminals Tuesday night after the storms and an as yet undetermined number of passengers stranded by canceled flights were directed to area hotels, airport spokesman David Magana said.

A return to normal for the airport "will be measured in days, not hours," Magana said.

About 400 flights were canceled Tuesday at the airport, the eighth busiest in the world, and 40 incoming flights diverted. At the height of the storm, passengers were herded away from windows and into stairwells and restrooms, Magana said.

The tornadoes left "three major pockets of damage" in the Lancaster area south of Dallas, the Kennedale-Arlington area and in Forney, said Jud Ladd, chief of operational services at the weather service regional headquarters in Fort Worth.

Authorities were amazed no one was killed given the intensity of the storm, the number of tornadoes and the population density of the area.


"The fortunate thing about it is there were some injuries, but no deaths we are aware of at this point," Ladd said Wednesday morning.

It is not uncommon for the Dallas-Fort Worth area to be struck by tornadoes, but "to have storms that do this kind of damage" has probably happened five or six times since the 1950s, Ladd said.

As of Tuesday night, 10 people had been reported injured in the Lancaster area, two severely, and seven in Arlington, one critically, police said.

One tornado lifted trucks like toys in the Flying J Truck Plaza in Dallas, said truck driver Michael Glennon, who caught the destruction on his video camera as debris swirled through the air.

Sixth-grader Hailey Pellerin said she and other students had just started lunch when teachers quickly herded students back to their classrooms in their southwest Arlington elementary school.

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