A series of storms that moved through northern Texas and parts of Oklahoma and Louisiana on Tuesday spawned multiple tornadoes, including one near Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport that briefly stranded passengers Shelter-in-place urged and hundreds of flights delayed.
More than two people were injured in the storm, which damaged homes and businesses and downed power lines and trees.
The tornadoes are the lower half of a larger weather system that is causing significant and widespread damage in more than a dozen central U.S. states. Parts of the Plains and Upper Midwest saw heavy snow, sleet and icing, with winter and blizzards affecting multiple states.
By early Wednesday, thunderstorms sweeping across the south were expected to move eastward, said National Weather Service meteorologist Joshua Weiss. By then, the greatest risk of tornadoes will be in eastern Louisiana, southern Alabama and southern Mississippi, he added. “Nighttime tornadoes can be very dangerous,” Mr. Weiss said. “Therefore, people need to prepare for this ongoing threat.”
Several areas in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi were under tornado warnings Tuesday night. The tornado ripped through parts of the Louisiana Union Parish, about 100 miles east of Shreveport, local officials said. At least 20 people were injured, some seriously, authorities said. The storm flattened part of a large apartment complex and several surrounding mobile homes.
Numerous homes were damaged late Tuesday afternoon in a small community near Four Forks, Louisiana, on the Louisiana-Louisiana border, local officials said. Two people were still missing as of Tuesday night, Sgt. Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Casey Jones. A woman was taken to hospital, but her injuries were not yet known, he said. No other casualties were reported, Sgt. Jones said.
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Earlier in the day, a tornado hit Wise County, Texas, in the northwest of the Dallas-Fort Worth area around 7 a.m. The county’s Office of Emergency Management reported two injuries and “multiple reports of damage to homes and businesses,” it said in a statement.
One person was injured by flying debris while traveling in a vehicle and was treated at the scene, the Office of Emergency Management said. Another person was taken to hospital after high winds overturned an 18-wheeler truck, but the Office of Emergency Management did not provide information on the condition of those hospitalized.
“A large and extremely dangerous tornado has been confirmed near Decatur,” according to a 7:20 a.m. central time advisory from the National Weather Service.
Just before 5:30 a.m., a tornado was also said to have touched down in Wayne, Oklahoma, traveling at least 3 miles along the ground with winds of 120 to 125 mph Preliminary information from the National Weather Service.
According to the McLean County Sheriff’s Office, “multiple” homes were damaged, along with outbuildings and barns, and utility poles and trees were downed. No injuries were reported. The sheriff’s office said utility crews were working to restore power to Wayne and surrounding areas.
In Texas, a tornado near Dallas-Fort Worth Airport crossed the highway near Grapevine, Texas, according to the Weather Service. The Grapevine Police Department said on Facebook that five people were injured in the storm and taken to hospital. Police Department spokeswoman Amanda McNew said the injuries were minor.
Damage from the storm caused some businesses to close for the day and forced some elementary schools in the area to close early. Students at Grapevine Middle School were evacuated due to roof damage and a water leak on campus.
Passengers at the airport were asked to shelter in place as the tornado warning was lifted after the storm. About 1,000 flights in and out of the airport were delayed and 115 canceled on Tuesday, according to flight-tracking website FlightAware.
At 8:15 a.m. local time, outdoor sirens sounded throughout Fort Worth. Fort Worth Fire Department spokeswoman Kristen O’Hara said there had been no reports of structural damage in the city as of 11:15 a.m., other than downed power lines and trees.
Krystal Foreman, 38, was working at the reception desk of a government insurance company in Arlington, a city east of Fort Worth, when he heard a tornado siren. Security guards told employees to seek shelter as the tornado could be two to three minutes away.
“People were in stairwells, in bathrooms, a lot of us were in conference rooms with no windows,” she said in an interview.
Mrs. According to an email she received, Foreman was primarily terrified for her 3-year-old son, who was sheltering at school.
“The first thing I think about is my kids and my mom,” she said. said the foreman. “Once I heard from school that he was fine and from my mum that I was fine.”
Scientists are not yet sure if there is a link between climate change and the frequency or intensity of tornadoes. Tornadoes are relatively small, short-lived weather events, so historical data on past prevalence of tornadoes is limited; scientists need at least 40 years of weather data to draw cause-and-effect relationships.
The researchers did say that tornadoes appear to have occurred in larger “clusters” in recent years, and that an area of the country known as “Tornado Alley,” where most tornadoes occur, appears to be moving eastward.
The timing of tornado season has also become less predictable, with tornado season starting both earlier and later than it did decades ago, the researchers found. The reason for this is unclear.
Isabella Grulon Pass, Michael Levinson, Derek Bryson Taylor and Livia Albeck-Ripka Contribution report.