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Texas tornadoes: Why no fatalities after a dozen tornadoes? (+video)

Texas tornadoes: An estimated 650 homes were destroyed in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, but no one died. One reason: Daylight tornadoes are often less deadly.

By Judy WileyReuters / April 4, 2012

David Lowe carries his daughter's dog "Phoebe" after it was rescued by officials who found it under a destroyed home in Arliington, Texas, Tuesday, April 3, 2012 after a series of tornadoes tore through the Dallas area.

AP Photo/The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Ron Jenkins)

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Dallas

 Up to a dozen tornadoes skipped through the densely populated Dallas-Fort Worth area in Texas on Tuesday, ripping apart homes, tossing tractor-trailer trucks into the air and injuring at least 17 people, but there were no reported deaths.

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Residents of Texas talk about surviving the April 3, 2012 tornadoes.

Ten to 12 tornadoes touched down during a massive storm that brought chaos from high winds, rain and hail to the nation's fourth most populous metropolitan area, said National Weather Service meteorologist Jesse Moore. On Wednesday morning, more than 8,000 homes and business were still without electricity.

Many of the 6.3 million area residents were forced to scramble for safety Tuesday as the storm bore down during the early afternoon, when schools and workplaces were open.

Seven people were injured in the suburb of Arlington, police said. Most suffered only minor injuries but one person hit by a falling tree was in critical condition, said Arlington police spokeswoman Cheryl Carpenter.

IN PICTURES: Tornadoes

In one of the hardest hit areas south of Dallas, Lancaster, tornadoes damaged 300 structures.

Of the 10 people injured in Lancaster, two of them were severely hurt, said Lancaster police spokesman Paul Beck.

Authorities were amazed that no one was killed given the intensity of the storm, the number of tornadoes and the population density of the area.

"We dodged a big bullet ... It really is a miracle," Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said in an interview on CNN.

As federal and state authorities assess the damage Wednesday, they will also be looking at the effectiveness of the warning systems and procedures.The fact that these were daylight tornadoes may have helped.

The survival rate from a tornado is higher during the daylight hours because people are more likely to hear or see the warnings and take cover, meteorologists said. Twisters are most deadly when people are sleeping at night, they said.

One tornado lifted trucks like toys in the Flying J Truck Plaza in Dallas, said truck driver Michael Glennon, who caught the destruction on his video camera as debris swirled through the air.

"We've seen roofs blown off, houses totally flattened, tractor-trailers knocked over," Moore said.

On Tuesday evening, the storm system moved east into Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana with the potential of producing high winds and more tornadoes, Moore said.

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