St. Louis Airport Resumes Operations After Tornado Damage

By By Katie Storbeck, Meteorologist
April 26, 2011, 7:00:33 PM EDT

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A powerful tornado struck St. Louis' Lambert Field late on Friday, leaving behind significant damage and injuring several people.

According to the Lambert-St. Louis International Airport website, the airport sustained severe damage and was closed through early Saturday evening.

Some airlines began limited in-bound service late on Saturday as power was finally restored to the airport.

Officials project 85 percent of normal flight activity today.

The tornado struck around 8:15 p.m. CDT on Friday, blowing out the windows at the main terminal and tearing the roof off Concourse C.

The Associated Press reports that five people were taken to the hospital with minor injuries from shattered glass and flying debris. Fortunately, no deaths have been associated with the storm.

The National Weather Service survey teams examined the damage on Saturday, concluding that the destruction was caused by the tornado. The crews have determined that the tornado tore over 22 miles in the St. Louis Metropolitan Area, with a width of up to 0.4 of a mile.

The twister caused EF-4 damage just to the northwest in the Bridgeton, Mo., area. An EF-4 tornado on the Enhanced Fujita Scale has winds between 166 to 200 mph. It is estimated that when the tornado passed in the vicinity of the airport, it was packing winds between 111 and 165 mph.

The Air National Guard building at the airport was also damaged. Elsewhere in the St. Louis vicinity, the storms flipped cars, stood tractor trailers on end, scattered debris over I-70, downed countless trees and left nearly 50,000 without power for a time overnight.


Gov. Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency in Missouri late on Friday night as the extent of destruction in parts of the Show Me State became clear.

Drenching and strong thunderstorms will return today, potentially hampering cleanup efforts.

Violent thunderstorms menaced a zone from southwestern Oklahoma to southern Indiana on Friday evening. The storms erupted as invading cool air clashed with the warm, moist air in place over the southern Plains.

More than 2 inches of rain doused some cities and towns along this zone, sending feet of flash flood waters surging over area roadways. Other locations were pounded by hail as large as baseballs, while winds gusting well past 60 mph damaged buildings and downed countless trees. Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski contributed to the content of this story.

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