A series of strong thunderstorms and dazzling lightning strikes grounded dozens of flights Thursday, left nearly 150,000 north Texans without power and made for a chaotic morning rush-hour commute through flooded streets without working traffic lights. No deaths or injuries were reported from the storms, which began whipping the Dallas-Fort Worth area with winds up to 70 mph Wednesday night.
By morning, the region was pelted with dime-sized hail, six inches of rain, and Fort Worth recorded winds gusting to 46 mph, said Daniel Huckaby, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. Utility linemen were brought in from Oklahoma and Houston to help restore power to tens of thousands of customers left in the dark. Forecasters expected flash-flooding as the thunderstorms continue to rumble through the area. About 50 flights were canceled at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and more delays and cancellations were expected. As many as 40 flights were delayed out of Dallas Love Field, where Southwest Airlines is based, spokeswoman Brandy King said.
The worst damage appeared to be in the northern suburbs of Dallas and Fort Worth, where trees and chimneys toppled and shingles were stripped from roofs. A lightning strike was suspected in at least one fire that destroyed a two-story house in the town of Heath, near Dallas. Traffic lights were dim during the morning rush, leading to bumper-to-bumper traffic on highways and residential streets. Another powerful storm that flew out of Wyoming into Nebraska's Panhandle swamped Scottsbluff with almost 2 inches of rain and left behind piles of hail. No injuries were reported but Western Nebraska Community College canceled classes because of water damage.