Weather News

Tornado crosses North Dallas, destroying many homes and businesses

Tornado crosses North Dallas, destroying many homes and businesses

Dallas tornado Oct 2019
Shot of tornado at 66 and Lake Ray Hubbard in Rockwall. Photo courtesy of Billy Frank Watkins Jr

On Sunday, October 20, severe storms blew through Dallas-Fort Worth, bringing hail, lightning, and a tornado that ripped across north Dallas.

In addition to crossing at least three major highways, the tornado struck a densely populated area, causing many collapsed buildings, damage to residences, uprooted trees, and downed power lines. According to WFAA, more than 100,000 people were without power.

According to the city of Dallas, the worst damage occurred in northwest Dallas, Preston Hollow, and areas around Love Field, with the area near Walnut Hill and I-35 hit so badly that roadways were shut down, including the northbound lane of I-35, due to a jackknifed big-rig truck. Freeway lights were toppled. Numerous buildings and businesses collapsed near along Walnut Hill near Midway and Harry Hines.

Preston/Royal Shopping Center was badly hit, with store windows such as Talbot's smashed out. Fish City Grill was decimated, as well as Interabang Books and the Central Market store which announced it will be closed until clean up is complete and power can be restored.

Residences nearby were also affected, including Dallas Stars center Tyler Seguin's North Dallas home, which was destroyed.

The Home Depot store at 75 and Forest was also destroyed. Even fire stations were hit, including Station 41 whose roof blew off due to high winds.

A release from the city of Dallas lists power lines down, fallen trees, and people injured inside their homes by broken glass.

"Most of the damage is limited to the area bordered, from North to South, by Royal Lane to Northwest Highway; and East to West, by Interstate 75 and Harry Hines Boulevard," the city says. "As it currently stands, there have been no reports of any fatalities or serious injuries, and only three people have been taken to local hospitals for evaluation of non-life-threatening injuries."

Search teams worked throughout the night but their efforts were hampered by limited access and insufficient lighting.

Several North Texas school districts are canceling classes Monday, including Dallas Independent School District, which canceled classes Monday at 19 of its campuses; Richardson ISD; and four schools in Garland. Dallas Lutheran School near Forest Lane and 75 experienced sufficient damage that the school is shut down. St. Mark's School also sustained heavy damage and is closed.

The offices of KNON 89.3 FM, off 75 just south of Forest Lane, were hit, and nearby plant store Northhaven Gardens was nearly wiped out.

According to Weather Nation TV, the tornado stayed on the ground for approximately 10 miles, cutting through University Park before crossing 635 and moving through the northern edge of Dallas County, including parts of Richardson and Garland.

Even areas not struck by the tornado experienced heavy damage due to high winds. Prior to the tornado touchdown, northwest suburbs such as Coppell saw quarter-sized hail.

Storm chasers and weather services captured many extreme images such as this disabled truck surrounded by debris, shot right after the tornado crossed 635 just east of 75; and this video taken from the eye of the storm.

The City of Dallas issued a request for residents to avoid downed power lines and call 911 or Oncor at 888-313-4747.

Winds were estimated to be least 86-110 mph — enough to knock over cars and cause moderate structure damage. Dallas Police Department and Dallas Fire-Rescue have been assessing damaged structures, but there have been no reports of fatalities or serious injuries.

At least 35 traffic signals were down, and there were reports of gas leaks north of Walnut Hill Lane.

According to Oncor, there were approximately 65,000 customers in Dallas experiencing a service interruption due to this storm. There was also a power outage in Melissa.

The City has activated its Emergency Operating Center and opened Bachman Recreation Center at 2 am for people seeking shelter.

The National Weather Service will be sending survey teams to Dallas, Garland, Richardson, Rowlett, and Sachse to assess the damage.