Tornados and hail damage caused by a severe thunderstorm in the Dallas area forced American Airlines to cancel operations at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and prompted the evacuation of the MRO Americas forum at a nearby convention centre.
The airport imposed a ground halt as a violent hail storm blew through the sprawling facility. Several tornados also touched down in Fort Worth and Arlington, according to a National Weather Service alert.
Meanwhile, the MRO Americas event had just launched its opening session when convention centre staff around 1:30pm ordered hundreds of attendees to evacuate to an area on the first floor.
After the storm passed through the airport, American Airlines tweeted that operations would remain suspended while the aircraft were inspected for hail damage. About one hour later, American Airlines sent out another tweet announcing that all flights were cancelled for the rest of the day.
The same storm passed over the downtown Dallas area minutes later, but the MRO Americas event resumed about one hour later. The storm delayed an address by Nick Calio, president and chief executive officer of Airlines for America.
When he finally spoke to the audience of the maintenance, repair and overhaul industry, Calio joked about the delay caused by the storm.
"I noticed the audience disappeared 10 minutes before I spoke," Calio told the audience. "Was it something I was going to say?"