Thousands in Dallas-Fort Worth Are Without Power After Storms

Winds were strong enough — up to about 70 mph — to topple large trees onto cars and homes. Traffic signs as well as billboards were dislodged, and light poles and other small structures were strewn about.

by Claire Z. Cardona, The Dallas Morning News / June 10, 2019

(TNS) - The storms across the Dallas area Sunday afternoon that killed one and injured at least five others also spread debris through damaged neighborhoods and left several hundred thousand residents without power.

Winds were strong enough — up to about 70 mph — to topple large trees onto cars and homes. Traffic signs as well as billboards were dislodged, and light poles and other small structures were strewn about.

But power outages were a more widespread problem. Close to 280,000 customers were without power in Dallas County alone, about a quarter of the Oncor customers there. By dawn Monday, almost 240,000 Dallas County customers were still affected, along with about 15,000 in Denton, Collin and Tarrant counties.

Oncor estimated some customers could be without power for several days and had requested mutual aid from other parts of the country to help restore service.

Businesses, like residences, were affected, with stores closing or relying on backup generators for minimal services.

Dallas ISD and Mesquite ISD cancelled their summer programming Monday due to the severe weather.

Some grocery stores had shut off their freezers because of the extended outages and were selling only non-perishable items, WFAA-TV (Channel 8) reported. Refrigerated items were being disposed of.

The storm, which entered Dallas County about 1:30, knocked down about 200 trees across Dallas, city officials said. By 3 p.m., the bad weather had moved south of Dallas, according to the National Weather Service.

Rain was intense but brief. Although some street flooding was reported, less than an inch was recorded at DFW International Airport and at Dallas Love Field.

Across the region, 911 call centers were also affected by outages. Dallas police said the call center that serves the city was working again by Sunday evening.

The most serious problems were caused by the high winds.

The National Weather Service recorded a 71-mph gust at Love Field, where a hangar door and part of the roof at a Southwest Airlines maintenance facility was torn away. No injuries were reported.

The weather delayed 90 flights at Love Field and 700 at DFW Airport, according to Flight Aware. More than 300 flights at DFW and 27 Southwest Airlines flights at Love Field were canceled.

DFW Airport spokeswoman Cynthia Vega said several security checkpoints and concessions would stay open until 12:30 a.m. because of the storms. The airport saw no major damage, she said.

The storms forced a ground stop that was lifted around 4 p.m., she said, which caused delays averaging about an hour.

In downtown Dallas, windows were shattered on the Fountain Place skyscraper on Ross Avenue, near Field Street, and the KPMG building on Ross near Pearl Street.

"It's supposed to withstand high winds, high storms, but debris is a whole different story," Vince Ortega of the Hall Group told KXAS-TV (NBC5) about the KPMG building.

He said it was fortunate the storm didn't hit on a weekday when many people could have been hurt by flying glass.

"It was a blessing it was on a Sunday and not a Monday," Ortega said. "We could have been telling a whole different story."

More damage was reported in and around the Central Business District, but similar damage could be found to other high-rises in other parts of Dallas, including the Bancorp South building near I-635 and Central Expressway.

But the city's office of emergency management said there had been no reports broken windows or downed trees had caused injuries.

In residential areas throughout Dallas, roofs, vehicles, carports and brick barrier walls bore the brunt of the high winds. Insulation and other debris was spread on lawns, sidewalks and streets, along with many tree branches and trunks.

In Far North Dallas, many large trees were reported downed, and the Fretz Park branch library at Hillcrest and Belt Line roads had a number of large windows blown out.

At a news conference Sunday night, officials said repairing traffic signals would be a priority — with lights that are completely inoperable getting fixed first, followed by those that were flashing red.

DART also reported delays on its routes because of the storms, with debris on tracks hindering light-rail service. Passengers at some stations were being shuttled by bus around damaged areas.

A billboard was knocked down at Hall Street and McKinney Avenue in Uptown, damaging two vehicles. No injuries were reported.

Jones and two friends pulled into the parking lot when the rain started. Moments later, wind knocked down the billboard, which scraped the right side of Jones' car.

"It just picked up so fast, and it was not even raining," Jones said.

The front windshield and back window of Stephanie Carenca's Cadillac Escalade were damaged when the billboard fell on top of the SUV.

"I'm just glad we weren't in it," she said.

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