Nightly News | April 03, 2012
>>> good evening. we got a chance to witness a rare sight today and an awesome one at that. a tornado rolling in over a major metropolitan area . as we watched it happen live, as it was captured by television news helicopters, here's what it looked like this afternoon in dallas /ft. worth, those large flying projectiles are 18-wheeler truck trailers from a trucking company yard south of dallas . it went on from there to hit numerous neighborhoods in the dallas metro area . then the second wave of storms came along behind it. and at the sprawling american airlines hub at dfw airport , that was shut down, passengers sheltered inside, kept away from windows, while dozens of jet aircraft exposed on the tarmac had to be inspected for hail damage. well, it's where we begin tonight. nbc's gabe gutierrez is with us from lancaster , texas. where the worst is over from above, but a mess remains there on the ground in lancaster . gabe, good evening.
>> reporter: good evening, brian. dallas area residents were alerted earlier this afternoon that tornados might be possible. no one expected this, two monster storms leaving behind all this damage. look at those up ended cars behind me. unbelievably, no injuries have been reported.
>> i can't believe this.
>> reporter: the massive funnel clouds sent debris.
>> guys, it's throwing 18-wheelers.
>> reporter: trailers and sparks flying.
>> just crossed over i-20 northbound. there's lots of 18-wheelers this is something i've never seen before.
>> reporter: dallas /ft. worth airport shut down. with airlines serving dfw reporting more than 110 aircrafts suffering varying degrees of damage from the storm. news cameras were on high as they captured the tornado.
>> i heard a thump, turned around and here was this truck. that's when i turned around and thought, i'm not going anywhere.
>> i got into a bathroom that's in the inner quarter of the half. three minutes later, the lights came out and the tornado came through our house.
>> reporter: the two tornados missed the city dallas , but cut a destructive path across the metropolitan area .
>> it looked like it was coming toward me.
>> reporter: wes stevens was on his way to a meeting when he saw the storm coming. i pulled over and shot this video.
>> i wasn't going to be able to back up. i couldn't outrun it. fortunately it went straight across the road and i took off. after i was driving off. i looked over and could see the transformers exploding, and the green lights shooting up in the air. it looked like it tore some shingles off some roofs. i didn't see any houses it destroyed or anything. but it twisted up an exit sign on the side of the road .
>> reporter: local businesses, from car rental companies, to nursing homes and schools across the area were shut down due to the storms. staff and guests were evacuated into tunnels below ground. and schneider national trucking, the company that owned those orange trailers, they're trying to come to grips with what they say is a devastating loss. dfw airport has reopened, but hundreds of thousands of passengers tonight are stranded. because hundreds of flights were cancelled and many hotels and businesses are still without power. it appears it's going to be a very long night here.
>> gabe gutierrez starting our coverage from language 12er lancaster , texas tonight. gabe, thanks.