DENVER (CBS4) – Tyra Kilcullen and her son were in a plane on Saturday night in Texas and ready to fly to Colorado when the weather took a turn for the worse.
“They finally evacuated us off the plane into the airport when all of the tornado alerts started hitting. So we did our very first tornado evacuation inside Dallas Love Field,” Kilcullen told CBS4 on Monday night at Denver International Airport, a few minutes after she arrived at her destination two days late.
“They were trying to literally herd everyone into the center of the airport — into hallways, into basement areas, everywhere away from glass,” she said.
Approximately a dozen people were killed and many others were injured in Saturday’s storms in Texas, which produced at least nine tornadoes. More than 1,000 homes were also damaged or destroyed.
The storm’s effect on the airlines was significant, with flight cancellations and delays that stretched into Monday and led to some multi-day delays like the one the Kilcullens experienced.
Ansel, Kilcullen’s son, said the storm was shockingly fierce.
“On the airplane you’re just looking through the small little window and you have no idea how bad it is,” Ansel said. “Then we got out, after they evacuated us, and you start seeing lightning strikes after lightning strikes, and wind, things blowing all over.”
The Kilcullens said despite the two-day delay they experienced in Dallas with very few essentials, they know things could have been worse. They said they are thinking of those families that are affected by the storms, including a friend in the Dallas suburb of Garland whose home was heavily damaged.
Another Colorado family whose flight was canceled out of Dallas over the weekend opted to drive home instead of trying to catch a different flight. They made the decision after sleeping on cots inside Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.
Officials at DIA said the exceptionally high passenger volume that has been seen at the airport this holiday season is expected to continue for the next several days, and travelers are urged to give themselves extra time if they are departing on a flight from Denver soon.