Tornadoes strand thousands at DFW airport

(CBS/AP) DALLAS - Airlines cancelled more than 400 flights at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport Tuesday as tornadoes rolled through the area, leaving thousands of travelers stranded at the airport.

American Airlines, which operates a hub at DFT, canceled nearly all departures for the rest of the evening. At least 40 incoming flights were diverted during the storm.

American had canceled more than 230 flights by Tuesday afternoon and others had been diverted to different airports. American spokeswoman Andrea Huguely says the airline also is pulling dozens of planes out of service to inspect them for hail damage.

Tornadoes roll through Dallas area

The Federal Aviation Administration says delays are averaging nearly three hours for the few flights still getting through.

Flights also have been canceled at Dallas Love Field, which is a big base for Southwest Airlines. That airline has canceled more than 45 flights in and out of the airport.

Love Field spokesman Jose Luis Torres says the airport didn't suffer any damage.

In a press release, DFW airport pointed not only to the storm cells that kept planes on the ground, but also damaging hail. Airlines are reporting that more than 110 aircraft sustained damage from the hail, and airline personnel are assessing the damaged planes one-by-one.

The storm cells arrived at DFW about 1:30 p.m. Tuesday. Airport staff moved customers away from windows and into interior conference rooms and lounges.

The problems at DFW created a ripple effect nationwide. Los Angeles International was reporting delays of up to three hours. Dallas-bound flights were cancelled or significantly delayed from most major cities.

The National Weather Service confirmed at least two separate "large and extremely dangerous" tornadoes in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

In Lancaster, south of Dallas, local television footage showed homes without roofs while other buildings were flattened. Plywood was strewn on the grass and on top of buildings. Residents could be seen walking down the street with firefighters and peering into homes, looking at the damage after the storm passed.