Reports of injuries were not immediately known, but the National Weather Service declared the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area to be under a "tornado emergency." Warnings for most counties are still active at 2:30 p.m.
Sirens went off in downtown Dallas and Fort Worth. Schools across the area were huddling children in hallways. Passengers at DFW International Airport were rushed to safe areas as the storm passed. All planes were grounded.
"This is as serious of a tornado we've seen in years," said CBS 11 meteorologist Larry Mowry.
Television news helicopters broadcast images of a couple of the twisters. Spotters on the ground estimated one of the tornadoes to be 1/2-mile wide. The first tornado, first spotted about 20 miles south of Fort Worth, was believed to be on the ground for 30 minutes.
That twister was captured on video near Arlington. KXAS (NBC 5) published the raw video.
Storm spotters were reporting widespread major damage of homes and other buildings in communities south of Fort Worth. Officials said roofs were blown off homes in south Arlington and Kennedale, about 20 southwest of DFW Airport. Minor injuries were reported. Some homeowners were scouring damaged neighborhoods for missing pets.
"Oh man," a spotter surveying damage told CBS 11. "People are running frantically trying to see if people are ok."