Tornado Devastates Dallas Overnight, Leaving Thousands Without Power and Destroying Homes

Dave Quinn
Tornado Devastates Dallas Overnight, Leaving Thousands Without Power and Destroying Homes

Tens of thousands of Dallas residents are without power after a devastating tornado and a series of violent thunderstorms tore through the northern region of the Texas city, leaving a path of destruction in its wake.

The twister touched down near University Park at around 9:48 p.m. local time on Sunday, according to the National Weather Service, and remained grounded for 17 miles — leveling homes, businesses and schools in its path.

Its 70 miles per hour winds launched debris at least three miles into the sky, the Washington Post reported.

Thunderstorms that surrounded the tornado brought heavy rain, lightning, and even hail said Oncor, the state’s largest utility company.

Images shared on social media showed the ruin left by the twister. Streets were littered with down power lines and trees. Highways saw overturned cars. One Home Depot on Forest Lane was completely leveled.

Upwards of 167,000 electric customers are without power across the state, ABC News reported, with about 65,000 of those within Dallas itself.

“We have pretty extensive damage in one small sector of Dallas,” Dallas Director of Emergency Management Rocky Vaz said on Monday’s Today. “A lot of rooftops blown away mostly, lot of trees and power lines are down. There’s some structures that are totally collapsed.”

Vaz’s team performed extensive search and rescue operations throughout the evening, and has since opened the Bachman Recreation Center for people in need of shelter.

Warnings had been activated for Dallas residents for upwards of two days, Vaz said.

Luckily, no deaths have yet been reported from the Texas twister (though the same storm system claimed the life of a male in Rogers, Arkansas, 40-29 News reported, when a tree toppled onto a house).

“We have the saving grace that we have had no casualties,” said Vaz, of the Dallas tornado, on Today. “There are only three people that needed to be transported to area hospitals. We have done a complete search of the affected areas. Our search and rescue team have gone door to door. We are pretty confident that nobody is trapped in any of these structures or homes that took damage. As soon as the daylight comes in a few hours, we’ll go back and do a full second sweep with more personnel from Dallas Fire and our Dallas P.D.”

Dallas is the ninth most-populous city in the United States, and the third in Texas after Houston and San Antonio. An estimated 1,345,047 people lived there in 2018, according to the U.S. Census.

The city has many famous residents, including former President George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush. The couple tells PEOPLE in a statement that they are safe after the storm and “praying for their neighbors.”

NHL player Tyler Seguin also shared on social media that he was okay, despite his former home — which is up for sale — being severely damaged during the storm.

“Thanks to everyone reaching out about the news tonight,” he wrote on Twitter. “I am safe. Luckily, this is my house for sale and I have moved into a new one. I just left the area and it is an extremely sad sight to see. Prayers to everyone affected by the tornado.”

A tornado watch is still in effect for eastern Texas, ABC News reported.