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Tornadoes can be one of nature's most destructive forces. They have the capacity to level buildings, uproot trees and toss semitrucks - as well as cause fatalities.
Tornado warnings differ from tornado watches in that they provide an actual warning of the potential threat. With just minutes to prepare, tornado warnings can be issued with serious implications for life and property.
Tornadoes are one of the most destructive storms in nature. They can destroy buildings, kill people and cause extensive destruction. Tornadoes usually form when a thunderstorm has a strong base and convective air mass above it. A large-scale weather system such as a front can also help magnify tornadoes to higher intensities.
On Thursday night and early Friday morning, a powerful storm struck Texas with the potential to produce multiple tornadoes. At least one tornado was confirmed in Jefferson, Texas; another was confirmed in Louisiana as well.
In the Dallas area, several tornado warnings were issued. According to the National Weather Service, if people get their phone alerts and hear sirens, that means there are winds as strong as a weak tornado and residents should seek shelter.
Tornadoes are rotating funnel-shaped clouds that emerge from thunderstorms. They can travel up to 50 miles, wreaking havoc on homes and businesses while injuring people.
Twisters typically form on days that are conducive for thunderstorm development, such as when temperatures are warm and humid. They're typically caused by mid-latitude "extratropical" cyclones or fronts but can also form when winds shear is strong.
On Thursday evening, severe storms swept through Dallas-Fort Worth's area, producing tornadoes in several locations as well as damaging winds and hail. It was one of the most intense storms to strike Texas in decades.
Fire officials in North Grand Prairie reported that winds had taken away two or four roofs on three to four warehouse buildings within the city. Additionally, trees and power lines were damaged as a result of the winds.
Meanwhile, in McKinney, Texas, four tractor-trailers overturned on a highway. The accidents resulted in minor injuries.
According to the Fort Worth office of the National Weather Service, if people receive phone alerts and hear sirens, that means wind speeds as strong as if a weak tornado were to strike them. They should seek shelter and remain indoors until it's safe to leave.
A powerful storm has moved into North Texas, bringing heavy rain, large hailstones and winds that have torn off roofs and caused extensive damage. Forecasters are warning about the potential for damaging weather like tornadoes as a line of severe thunderstorms moves across the region ahead of a cold front.
The National Weather Service has issued a tornado watch for much of the area until 8 p.m. The warning extends across parts of Tarrant and Dallas counties.
On Thursday evening, FOX 4 viewers captured footage of clouds with slight rotation as it moved into Dallas-Fort Worth's metroplex. Additionally, they recorded footage of strong wind that tore off the roof of a car dealership in Irving and hail falling across the city.
NBC 5 reported hail the size of golf balls near Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, as well as reports from Mineral Wells and Cleburne. Meanwhile, high winds ripped off the roofs of several buildings within a warehouse district in Grand Prairie.
On Thursday afternoon, at least 283 flights were cancelled between Dallas Fort Worth International Airport and Dallas Love Field due to storms. A ground stop was also issued for the airport.
Meanwhile, the National Weather Service issued a wind advisory for parts of North and Central Texas until Friday morning. This forecast calls for winds to gust up to 45 mph during the daytime.
Today afternoon, another storm system will move into the region and bring with it potentially damaging weather, including a chance for tornadoes. Due to this potential danger, school districts have been advised to cancel after-school programs today.
Storms will move into Austin between 8 p.m. and midnight, then spread throughout southeastern areas from 12-1 a.m. The strongest storms will hit Austin, but parts of Williamson and Lee Counties also face a severe thunderstorm warning until 1 a.m.
On Thursday evening, a powerful storm swept through the state of Texas, leaving behind rain, wind and hail in its path. Forecasters issued a Tornado Watch for much of the region from central Texas to southwestern Arkansas and northwestern Louisiana.
On Tuesday evening, a powerful cold front is moving through the Dallas-Fort Worth region and North Texas, potentially bringing with it hail, damaging winds, and tornadoes. A Tornado Watch is in effect for this area until 8 p.m., according to Weather Underground.
The warning also extends to parts of Williamson, Lee and Milam counties until 1 a.m.
The National Weather Service predicts a line of strong to severe thunderstorms will move through Austin between 8 p.m. and midnight before spreading into southeast areas around 12 a.m.
Williamson, Lee and Milam counties have been warned to stay indoors and keep windows and doors closed as storms approach. Furthermore, they're encouraged to seek cover during any downpours that may come their way.
Meanwhile, high winds in Grand Prairie caused damage to warehouse buildings by ripping off roofs and windows as well as taking down trees along Roy Orr Boulevard. Fire Chief Robert Fite estimates the damage at between $3 million and $4 million.
As the storms moved east, NBC 5 viewers shared video and pictures of large hail falling in their neighborhoods from Mineral Wells to Irving. One man in Cleburne reported seeing baseball-sized hail.
Other residents in the metroplex reported seeing golf ball-sized hail. Some of this storm hit roofs of businesses and damaged some cars as well.
It's essential to remember that warnings may be delayed -- so check with your local source for updates or use a weather app on your phone if you don't have access to TV or radio broadcasts.
Preparing for severe weather requires having a plan. Start by reviewing your severe weather safety kit and making sure you have an alarm device or radio in your home. Apps like WeatherBug or Breaking can help keep you updated with breaking weather news as it happens.
On Thursday evening, a powerful storm hit Texas and issued severe weather warnings for parts of the state, including Dallas and Fort Worth. The system could bring high winds, hailstones and tornadoes with it.
Severe thunderstorms are typically marked by lightning, heavy rain and damaging winds. Depending on their strength, these storms could also cause destruction to buildings, cars and crops.
Wind gusts of 70 mph are typically considered hazardous, but that doesn't mean you should stay out in them - it's essential to evacuate if you hear sirens or see any warning signs.
When severe weather is predicted in your area, there are steps you can take to prepare. Most importantly, create a plan for where you will seek refuge during an emergency.
If you are at work or school, be sure to identify shelter areas and devise a strategy for how you will exit should the storm hit. It is best if you can be in an established structure with roof and windows.
Additionally, remember to steer clear of tall objects, isolated trees, open fields, wet items, metal objects and open roof spans when in an unsafe area during a severe weather event.
Be aware of the various severe weather watches and warnings in place. A Severe Thunderstorm Watch indicates there could be severe thunderstorms in your area, while a Tornado Warning means a tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar.
The National Weather Service will issue warnings when they determine that severe weather, such as strong wind gusts or heavy rain, is imminent. They may also issue a flash flood watch which alerts you that flash flooding may take place in your area.
If you live in the path of a severe storm, stay informed by tuning into the weather channel and following the instructions of local emergency managers for safety. You can also download KLFY's weather app to receive alerts directly on your mobile device when an alert is issued for your location.