US & Canada

Tornado strikes Dallas, cutting power to thousands

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Media captionCars were overturned, roofs ripped off and power lines downed

A tornado struck areas of the city of Dallas in Texas on Sunday night, causing widespread damage and cutting electricity to thousands of homes.

Video footage showed the tornado touching down in the north of the city at about 21:00 local time (02:00 GMT), with winds of 70mph (113km/h).

No deaths or serious injuries have so far been confirmed.

Emergency services are checking for any victims amid fallen trees, torn roofs, downed power lines and damaged cars.

Meteorologists said the tornado had landed in the area of the Love Field airport, before moving north-east.

The National Weather Service in Fort Worth at the time warned of "a life-threatening situation" and that "complete destruction" was possible.

Image copyright Philip Ellis via Reuters
Image caption A still from social media footage of the tornado strike
Image copyright EPA
Image caption The aftermath inside a Dallas fire station

Over 100,000 customers in the region were without power on Monday morning, according to the state's largest utility company, Oncor.

The company urged people to stay away from downed power lines and said its crews were working to restore electricity, although the morning commute for many was expected to be severely disrupted. More than 40 gas leaks have been reported.

The local NBC station reported that the tornado may have covered an area of about 17 miles.

One Dallas resident, Tina Devlin, told the station: "I heard all the snapping of the trees and the wind blowing, and so I climbed into this bedroom closet, and just as I got in there, the roof blew off."

Although no serious injuries are as yet reported, the Washington Post quoted the Dallas Office of Emergency Management as saying three people had been taken to hospital with non-life-threatening conditions while another six were hurt when a lorry overturned.

NBCDFW Weather put a number of video on its Twitter feed, showing overturned cars, damaged roofs and lashing rain:

It also showed images of a demolished store. Police are reportedly checking to see if there were any occupants.

The Dallas fire service tweeted severe damage to one of its stations:

The KNON-FM radio station went off the air as its studio suffered major damage.

A number of schools in the north-west of Dallas have cancelled classes after suffering extensive damage to campuses.

Ex-President George W Bush and his wife Laura, who live in the area, said they were safe and praying for their neighbours, according to a representative.

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Media captionThe BBC's Matt Taylor explains how a tornado forms

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