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Local Meteorologist: Texas Tornadoes Should Be Safety Reminder

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Tornado

A tornado strikes North Texas on Tuesday. (Credit: Chris Gentry/CBS)

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ROMEOVILLE, Ill. (CBS) — Video of truck trailers flying through the air in North Texas underscore National Weather Service reminders that when they suggest taking cover from tornadoes, they’re very serious.

As WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports, the tornadoes hit at least nine cities across five counties in and around Dallas-Fort Worth. The mayors of the towns of Arlington and Lancaster declared a state of disaster after hundreds of homes were destroyed and about 10,000 people were left without power, CBS DFW reported.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports

L.D. Phillips of KRLD Newsradio Dallas did play-by-play shortly after the tornadoes hit.

“Quite a sight – a number of rigs (in the air), and I’m able to see, like, a path cut through the trees,” he said.

National Weather Service meteorologist Richard Castro in Romeoville says what he saw live from Dallas underscores the seriousness of tornado warnings.

“The tornadoes picked up cars and tossed them hundreds of feet, so you know, it doesn’t just have to be pieces of wood and other things, it can be much longer objects,” Castro said.

Castro says the best place to be during a tornado is in the basement, and he says that goes for Chicago too.
Among the misconceptions about tornadoes are that the tall buildings or the lake will stop a tornado, or that cities create heat islands that stop small tornadoes. But major tornadoes can, and have, hit big cities in the distant past.

“The possibility of a tornado is just as great in downtown Chicago as it is in our rural counties,” Jim Stefkovich, also a meteorologist for the National Weather Service, told CBS 2 in 2003.

It has happened before. In 1876, an F3 tornado slashed through the heart of Chicago, tearing buildings apart, killing two and injuring 35. The city has avoided recent tornado damage just by dumb luck, Castro said.

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