Violent Thunderstorms Knock Out Power to 245,000 in Texas

A series of powerful thunderstorms and dazzling lightning strikes grounded hundreds of flights Thursday, left about 245,000 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. The storms started to clear by mid-afternoon after dumping more than 8 inches of rain on portions of Dallas.

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.

The marina at Eagle Mountain Lake in Fort Worth sustained millions of dollars worth of damage and was closed. The storms damaged the marina's roof, smashed docks and turned boats upside down, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.

Utility linemen were brought in from Oklahoma and Houston to help restore power to customers left in the dark. Power had been restored to all but 145,000 Dallas-Fort Worth-area customers by daybreak Thursday. However, new storms later blacked out 100,000 more, Dallas-based Oncor Electric Delivery spokeswoman Jeamy Molina.

More than 400 flights were canceled Thursday at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport before operations resumed later in the day.

Traffic lights were dark during the morning rush, leading to bumper-to-bumper traffic on highways and residential streets. Many intersections remained flooded with about a foot of water Thursday afternoon.

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.