Widespread Tornado Damage: Forney Elementary, High Schools Damaged
NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Follow this story for constant severe weather damage updates and look here for a slideshow of damage around the region.
Multiple tornadoes threw tractor-trailers in the air, damaged both a Forney elementary school and high school, leveled houses and shut down airline traffic out of Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport as one of the worst storms in years hit North Texas Tuesday.
Baseball-sized hail punched holes through car roofs, and a Red Cross spokeswoman warned the breadth of the destruction may not be cleared until well into Wednesday.
The mayors of Arlington and Lancaster declared a state of disaster following the storm strike and U.S. Sen. John Cornyn issued a statement promising to work with “state and local officials to ensure North Texans have all the federal support they need.”
CBS 11 meteorologists Larry Mowry and Jeff Jamison reported damage in at least nine cities in five counties: The Dallas County cities of DeSoto, Lancaster and Mesquite; the Johnson County cities of Cleburne and Joshua; the Kaufman County city of Forney; the Rockwall County town of Royse City; and the Tarrant County cities of Kennedale and Arlington.
Below is an updated timeline of the day’s events:
10:35 p.m.: CBS 11′s Jay Gormely spoke with Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez. She reports nearly 200 homes in Dallas County suffered minor to catastrophic damage in Lancaster.
10:25 p.m.: Viewer Raymon Huddleston shared this video from Rockwall County:
10:19 p.m.: Two photos showing the extent of the damage from Pat Charlton in Mesquite:
10:17 p.m.: The Dallas County Community College District says all day classes at the central campus of North Lake College have been canceled. The other campuses will have class as usual.
9:45 p.m.: Crosby Elementary School, the Forney ISD school that suffered tornado damage today, will be closed on Wednesday, the district says. All other schools will open.
9:16 p.m. The city of Forney just passed along a news release confirming that two tornadoes touched down inside the city today. Mustang Community Church at 13851 FM 548 is offering shelter for residents affected by the storm.
City Manager Brian Brooks says most of the damage happened north of Highway 80 near the Diamond Creek subdivision. Between 9 p.m. Tuesday and 6 a.m. Wednesday, only subdivision residents will be allowed in.
“Officers will be stationed at every intersection to check identification,” Brooks said.
Seven residents were injured Tuesday, but only three had to be taken to a hospital. All were minor injuries. Brooks said 73 homes were damaged and 23 of those suffered severe damage.
Below is a video shot by storm spotter Jeremy Jones just north of Highway 80 as the tornado wreaked havoc inside the Diamond Creek subdivision.
9:09 p.m.: This image below, shot by CBS 11′s Jay Gormley, shows the aftermath of a tornado that careened through Northeast Lancaster near Wintergreen Road:
8:45 p.m.: Here’s footage shot in Kennedale in Tarrant County by storm chaser Bret Hendrickson. This was the same tornado that mowed into Arlington, which was described at 8:35 p.m.
8:34 p.m.: Arlington Police Department spokeswoman Tiara Richard sent along an email detailing the damage spots around the city. Arlington is one of two North Texas municipalities that issued a disaster declaration in the wake of Tuesday’s severe weather.
According to Richard, warning sirens began at 1:30 p.m.
As reported at 6:41 p.m., 150 homes suffered damage varying from mild debris to complete destruction. Seven injuries have been reported and 12,600 residents remain without power. For much of the day, about 40,000 across the region lost electricity, energy giant Oncor said.
Specific damages start at the Green Oaks Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center, located in the 3000 block of W. Green Oaks Blvd. Richard said the location sustained “heavy damage, including a roof collapse in one portion of the center.”
The nursing home was evacuated: One person was taken to the hospital while 35 other residents were relocated to other nursing homes.
The Chesterfield Apartments in the 5700 block of Median Way ended up with roof damage and overturned vehicles. Two buildings there suffered “severe damage.”
Not far from those apartments on U.S. Highway 287, between 25 and 30 homes were damaged by severe weather.
At the Oldfield Neighborhood in southwest Arlington, close to 100 homes suffered storm damage. For those watching CBS 11 throughout the day, this is the neighborhood with the severe damage our chopper was above. One injury has been reported there.
Richard said additional damage reports continue to come in, especially in the southwest region and areas along Interstate 20 and Cooper St.
“The majority of those include roof and structural damage,” Richard said.
Remarkably, there are no reported fatalities in the city of Arlington.
8:01 p.m.: Radar images show the worst of the storms have moved east of the Dallas-Fort Worth Area toward Tyler and beyond.
7:39 p.m.: Tornado video from Richard Cheek from his front yard in Forney –
7:33 p.m.: Forney has instituted a 9 p.m. curfew, CBS 11 reporter J.D. Miles says.
7:27 p.m.: Gov. Rick Perry has activated the Texas State Operations Center remotely from San Antonio. It’ll help authorities aggregate information from all state forces helping residents clean up and recover following today’s damaging weather.
7:19 p.m.: The Red Cross has opened its first shelter in Dallas: Head to the Tommie Allen Recreation Center at 7071 Bonnie View Rd.
7:05 p.m.: Video from viewer Francis Schmaltz showing the tornado:
6:49 p.m.: CBS 11 News, CBSDFW.com and 1080 KRLD News will be teaming with the American Red Cross to hold a tornado relief drive on Wednesday. Find details on that here.
6:41 p.m.: Arlington’s Assistant Fire Chief Jim Self said 150 homes suffered some sort of damage –– we’re talking a wide variance from struck with debris to completely destroyed –– in three different areas of the city.
6:25 p.m.: The Red Cross has set up a pair of Emergency Disaster Kitchens that offers free food, water and emotional comfort to folks affected by the storms. One location is at Interstate 20 at Kelly Elliott in Arlington; the other is at Green Oaks and Waterview, also in Arlington.
The Pleasant Grove Community Center at 8341 Elam Rd. in Dallas also offers a safe place for residents to stay throughout the night. Click here for more information about those services.
5:57 p.m.: Preliminary numbers from the National Weather Service indicate 12 tornadoes touched down in the Dallas-Fort Worth Area on Tuesday.
5:40 p.m.: Forney City Manager Bryan Brooks confirmed that both Forney High School and Crosby Elementary School suffered tornado damage. No one was injured in either of those cases.
Brooks said the high school only suffered minor damage. Children at Crosby Elementary had been evacuated to Criswell Elementary, located fewer than two miles from Crosby.
“The school district did implement their shutdown and we had already issued the tornado warning sirens,” Brooks said. “It was happening just as parents were picking up their children.”
Two tornadoes touched down in Forney, and most of the damage was quarantined north of Highway 80 near the Diamond Creek subdivision, he said.
Brooks said he heard an infant had been injured in the storm, but had no further details. Below, an image of hail from Forney:
5:13 p.m.: DFW Airport spokesman David Magana said 110 planes have been damaged because of the severe weather.
5:09 p.m.: In a press conference, Lancaster Mayor Marcus Knight said 300 structures are damaged within the city and that “multiple” injuries have been reported. He said there have not been any fatalities yet.
The tornado entered Lancaster at about 2 p.m., Knight said.
He said Lancaster has instituted a curfew from 7 p.m. Tuesday to 7 a.m. Wednesday. The city’s recreation center at 1700 West Veterans Memorial Dr. has been transformed into a temporary shelter for area residents.
“We need people to be patient and cooperate with law enforcement to ensure their safety,” Knight said during a media conference.
He said authorities have cordoned off an area between Telephone Rd. in the north, Bayport in the south, Pebble Beach to the east and Sunny Meadow to the west. Residents who live in that area will not be allowed in until after authorities survey more of the damage.
“That area has been deemed too dangerous for anyone to enter into,” Knight said. “We have personnel that will not let people into that area at this time.”
Knight urged residents to seek shelter outside the city, if possible.
4:59 p.m.: Surveying damage to a Forney neighborhood behind Crosby Elementary, CBS 11 storm chaser Jake Shannon says, “It really looks like a bomb’s gone off.” Police are blocking off roads because of severe damage to homes.
Footage captured several behind the elementary school, which is located at 495 Diamond Creek, showed several homes with missing second stories. Shannon reports, though, that driving by Crosby Elementary, “It appeared all the kids made it out,” but said the school suffered “substantial” damage –– just not as bad as the neighborhood behind it.
We’re awaiting comment from Forney ISD.
4:40 p.m.: Oncor reports 40,000 across the Dallas-Fort Worth region are without power.
4:17 p.m.: Meteorologist Jeff Jamison says there are currently 4 Tornado Warnings – Hunt, Hopkins, Lamar and Delta Counties.
4:12 p.m.:Irving ISD says Townsell Elementary School sustained minor damage after a tornado touched down, but no injuries were reported.
4:12 p.m.: An emergency shelter has been set up at Kiest Place at 3080 S. Hampton in Dallas.
3:56 p.m.: Forney ISD spokesman Larry Coker says North Forney High School has sustained damage, but he does not know how extensive it is. Coker confirms that no one was hurt, although school was in session at the time and students were in the building.
3:50 p.m.: Storm chaser Jason McLaughlin reports Crosby Elementary School in Forney has extensive damage. He’s on scene and says the roof has been ripped off. We’re working to get photos and/or video. No information about injuries.
3:35 p.m.: American Airlines says it has canceled its DFW Airport operations for the remainder of the day.
3:31 p.m.: CBS 11′s Karen Borta interviews an Arlington homeowner whose house was damaged by the storm:
Raw video of the Lancaster tornado:
3:04 p.m.: Red Cross spokeswoman Anita Foster says emergency crews have been dispatched to multiple locations but, ““This is not gonna be cleaned up overnight.”
3:01 p.m.: Tornado on the ground in the Addison area, at Trinity Mills and the Dallas North Tollway.
2:55 p.m.: Weather has quieted down west of Fort Worth as the storms move from west to east. Much of North Texas is still under severe storm warnings.
2:54 p.m.: Reports say Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck has already signed a disaster declaration for his city.
2:49 p.m.: As for travelers at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, airport spokesman David Magana said they are moving passengers, “…away from all of the glass areas on the edges of the terminals and into the centered areas of the terminal and away from the windows as much as we can.”
2:47 p.m.: New Tornado Warnings issued for Hunt County and eastern parts of Tarrant County.
2:40 p.m.: Radar indicates a possible tornado moving through far western sections of Plano. If you are in that area, take cover immediately.
2:34 p.m.: We’re getting reports of injuries in Lancaster. Unsure of the number or extent of the injuries.
2:34 p.m.: Dallas police report a funnel cloud near Harry Hines and Royal.
2:33 p.m.: Rebecca Rodriguez with City of Arlington says first responders in southwest Arlington have found trees down and homes damage, but extent isn’t known.
2:04 p.m.: Live Doppler shows tornado activity directly over DFW Airport.
2:02 p.m.: Several injuries have been reported in Kennedale.
1:58 p.m.: Spotters report a tornado touchdown along Highway 360, north of I-30 in Arlington.
1:57 p.m.: All Arlington schools have children in safe rooms and Irving ISD has students into storm shelters and safe areas.
1:56 p.m.: Unconfirmed reports of a wall cloud near the Ballpark in Arlington.
1:55 p.m.: Unconfirmed reports of golf ball-sized hail in Euless.
1:54 p.m.: Unconfirmed reports of damage at a nursing home at Waterview and Green Oaks in Arlington.
1:53 p.m.: TRE trains are stopped and a ground stop is in effect at DFW Airport.
1:51 p.m.: Indications of circulation between downtown Dallas and Mesquite. Clear indication on radar that there is a tornado in southeast Dallas – moving toward White Rock Lake area.
1:50 p.m.: Damage reports are coming in from Lancaster, Arlington, and Cleburne.
1:48 p.m.: Storms in Dallas County – Headed toward Mesquite and Rowlett Tornado reported east and southeast of downtown Dallas Rotating cylinder on Doppler
1:47 p.m.: American Airlines headquarters in Arlington being evacuated to safe areas.
Severe weather is bearing down in several areas across North Texas. As of 1:15 p.m. there are reports of a possible tornado that near the Dallas County/Ellis County line. Video from Chopper 11 showed rotation in the area.
There are also reports of a tornado in Johnson County. Mike Johnson, the executive director of Johnson County Emergency Services, says he could see a funnel cloud near the Joshua, Cleburne border.
“If anybody’s driving they should probably not head into that storm because I was coming back from one location and it [rain] was so heavy that cars were stopping on the side of the road because they couldn’t even see from just shear, heavy rain.” Johnston said he saw a tornado and has sent crews out to check for damage.
CBS 11 Meteorologists are reporting that golf ball sized hail is being reported with the cell over northern Johnson County, approaching Tarrant County. The National Weather Service is reporting that a tornado that touched down near Cleburne caused “considerable damage”.