Hundreds of flights out of Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport have been canceled after a series of tornadoes whipped through North Texas on Tuesday. The April 3, 2012 tornadoes left dozens injured but remarkably there were no reports of any fatalities.
Officials declared two cities disaster zones. Arlington and Dallas suburb Lancaster were both devastated by the storm as tornadoes tore through houses, threw tractor-trailers into the air, and left streets riddled with debris.
At least three hundred buildings in Lancaster, 15 miles south of Dallas, were severely damaged in the storm. Residents flooded into the city's recreation center Tuesday, which was used as a shelter.
Over in Arlington, home to the Texas Rangers, homes and businesses saw significant damage and one person was critically injured. Utility Oncor said nearly 14,000 homes and businesses remained in the dark Wednesday.
Skies went black over DFW Airport around 1:30 p.m. Tuesday afternoon as a hail storm rolled in. More than 100 aircraft were damaged by baseball-sized chunks of ice, causing at least 500 cancelations on Wednesday.
American Airlines, which operates a hub in Dallas, said 424 flights were canceled in and out of DFW Airport, including flights by its regional carrier American Eagle. A spokesperson said 94 American and American Eagle planes remained out of service Wednesday.
The airline typically operates 1,500 flights per day out of DFW Airport, which reported no structural damage from the storm.
Roughly 1,400 passengers spent Tuesday night in terminals at DFW. Airport employees distributed cots, blankets, pillows, and toiletry kits to the stranded passengers while thousands more booked rooms in area hotels.
Over at Love Field Airport, Southwest canceled 46 flights on Tuesday, but reported no cancelations Wednesday.
The grounding of planes at Dallas area airports Tuesday afternoon caused a ripple effect across the nation with airports like Los Angeles International posting delays of up to three hours.
The National Weather Service said as many as a dozen twisters touched down wreaking havoc in North Texas. The slow moving storms damaged at least 650 homes, according to Red Cross estimates, and about 150 Lancaster residents sought shelter Tuesday night.
Stunning videos (below) show tractor-trailers tossed into the air like toys. Though downtown Dallas was spared the brunt of the storm, helicopter footage of the surrounding area shows exposed homes without roofs and flattened buildings.
April is typically the worst month in the tornado season, which stretches from March to June. National Weather Service meteorologist Matt Bishop said Tuesday's outburst suggests that we're on pace to be above normal this year.