Aircraft were grounded at Dallas-Fort Worth airport as “large and extremely dangerous” tornados swept across Texas leaving a trail of destruction in their wake.
American Airlines cancelled hundreds of flights at the eighth busiest airport in the world in terms of passengers and more than 110 aircraft were damaged by hail.
Passengers were told to move away from glass windows and move into stairwells and toilets for their safety.
Power cuts to tens of thousands of homes were reported as six to 12 tornados hit north Texas.
Lorries were flipped over and roofs ripped off houses, with some properties completely blown away.
At least 17 people were reported injured but there were no fatalities.