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Dozen of tornadoes sweep Texas, causing widespread damage

(Xinhua)

13:13, April 04, 2012

HOUSTON, April 3 (Xinhua) -- About a dozen of tornadoes battered the U.S. state of Texas on Tuesday, wounding more than 10 people and causing widespread damage estimated to many millions of U.S. dollars.

The U.S. National Weather Service reported at least a dozen tornadoes in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, the country's fourth-most-populous metropolitan area with over 6 million people, according to the newspaper Dallas Morning News.

At least two twisters touched down near Dallas and Fort Worth Tuesday afternoon, crushing homes and sending thousands of local residents scrambling to take cover.

There had been no deaths reported so far, and only a dozen of people were reportedly injured. In suburban Dallas, 10 people were wounded, two of them in critical condition. In Arlington city, three people were injured.

However, there will be many millions of dollars worth of property damage, according to the Dallas Morning News.

"This tornado seemed to land about 10 times, and we didn' t have to take anybody to the hospital," said Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings who toured the tornadoes-stricken areas.

"This is heartbreaking, but the great news is that everybody' s alive," he said. "I think we' re looking at a miracle here."

Tornadoes and violent storms overturned trucks, damaged buildings and cut power to thousands of homes and businesses in the the Dallas and Fort Worth area.

Television footage from CNN showed truck trailers being lifted and tossed like toys. Ominous clouds filled the sky.

Schools across the affected area were huddling children in hallways. Passengers at DFW International Airport were rushed to safe areas.

David Magana, a spokesman for the airport, said the federal authorities had issued a ground stop, demanding all flights headed to Dallas be held on the ground at their airports of origin.

Airport officials ordered passengers away from windows and directed them into stairwells and restrooms, said Magana.

More than 110 aircraft sustained damage from hail, 400 departures were canceled and 40 incoming flights were diverted, according to a statement from the airport.

Severe damage was reported in Arlington, Texas, and the mayor of the city signed a disaster declaration.

"It's extensive damage," said Tiara Richard, a spokeswoman for Arlington police. About 40 homes in the city sustained moderate damage.

A nearby city, Kennedale, also reportedly suffered damage

"considerable damage" was also reported near Cleburne, south of Fort Worth, and Lancaster, south of Dallas, according to the U.S. weather service.

The tornado season in the United States has started early this year. Tornadoes have since the beginning of this year caused over 50 deaths in the Midwest and South states of the country.

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