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Tornado Touches Down In North Texas, Destroys Houses, Churches, Commercial Buildings


Two tornadoes touched down last night in north Texas. One tore through Dallas. It destroyed houses, churches and commercial buildings. It even sideswiped Medical City Dallas Hospital and forced it to operate on backup generators until power returned late this afternoon. From Dallas, NPR's Wade Goodwyn reports.

WADE GOODWYN, BYLINE: At the moment the tornado touched down, tens of thousands of Cowboy fans were glued to their TVs, watching the Dallas-Philadelphia game on "Sunday Night Football." Although tornado watches had been issued hours in advance, the first that many realized a tornado was actually on the ground and headed their way was when the outdoor warning sirens began to wail. Standing in his front yard, the cleanup well underway, David Williams (ph) describes the tornado skipping through his neighborhood.

DAVID WILLIAMS: The alarm was going off. It hit. We heard something hit the house. I guess it was this tree. That's about it. It was gone.

GOODWYN: The tornado spun through upscale neighborhoods, denuding trees of vegetation, leaving them forlorn skeletons in advance of Halloween. One man looking at a large tree laying on his lawn told a reporter in surprise, this is not my tree. The night manager at a Home Depot became an impromptu hero. Watching the supercells form on his computer, he decided to close the store. By the time the tornado tore into the front doors an hour later, there was no one left inside. Even though the tornado formed at night, Philip Ellis (ph) shot a video on his new iPhone 11 that lit up social media. The ropey funnel is backlit by lightning, electric transformers blowing like Fourth of July fireworks.


PHILIP ELLIS: Guys, this is no joke. This is a tornado touching down right now - tornado in Dallas. Holy cow.

GOODWYN: Ellis explains that first, he hid in the bathroom with his extremely frightened dog until his roommate yelled at him to come up on the condo's roof. A tornado was coming.

ELLIS: (Laughter) Yeah, you know, I was actually wondering, how far away is it? Is it coming towards us? It was actually very exhilarating 'cause when it touched the ground, at that point, you know, I was like, on my knees. Like, I'm worried about the lightning above. I was definitely scared for sure.

GOODWYN: Although the Dallas tornado caused millions of dollars in damage, it did not kill or seriously injure anyone.

Wade Goodwyn, NPR News, Dallas. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Wade Goodwyn is an NPR National Desk Correspondent covering Texas and the surrounding states.