More than a dozen Missouri tornadoes destroy homes, damage airport

Debris is strewn about a neighborhood Saturday, April 23, 2011, in Bridgeton, Mo., following a Friday-evening tornado in the area.

/ (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

UPDATED: April 26 at 3:02 p.m.

Two tornadic supercells crossed the Greater St. Louis Metropolitan Area during the evening hours of Friday, April 22, 2011.

Many reports of large hail and damage were reported. Some of the most intense damage occurred with an EF4 tornado that ripped a 21 mile path of destruction across St. Louis County in Missouri and Madison County in Illinois. Municipalities that were affected include Maryland Heights, Bridgeton, St. Ann, Edmundson, Lambert St. Louis International Airport (City of St. Louis), Berkeley, Ferguson, Pontoon Beach/Granite City. Remarkably, there were no fatalities with this event. This can be attributed to the 34 minutes of tornado warning lead time, wall to wall media coverage, and the actions of those in the direct path of the tornado.

Five tornadoes were confirmed so far from this event. The northern most supercell produced three tornadoes, two of which were long-tracked. The first touchdown was near New Melle and was rated EF1, the second was a long-track tornado that was rated EF4 and affected St. Louis and Madison Counties as well as the extreme northern tip of St. Louis City, and the third was a long-track EF2 tornado that affected Madison, Clinton, and Bond Counties. The southern supercell produced two short-track tornadoes. The first was rated EF2 in Monroe County and the second was rated EF1 in St. Clair County.

The EF4 tornado is the strongest tornado that has occurred in St. Louis County for 44 years. You have to go back to January 24,1967 to find a tornado that was as strong. In fact, the tornado paths are very similar.

Information courtesy of the National Weather Service.


(KMOV) Lambert-St. Louis International Airport reports that approximately 70 percent of flight operations resumed less than 48 hours after an EF-4 Tornado system damaged the Airport complex on Friday.

The first arrivals into Lambert came in late Saturday to make way for both departures and arrivals on Easter Sunday. Lambert TMs Terminal 1, Terminal 2 and Concourse A are fully operational after full power was restored to the Airport late Saturday. Eleven airlines had scheduled flights on Sunday. American Airlines will resume service from Lambert on Monday morning. Cape Airlines will be the last St. Louis carrier to resume flights which is scheduled to begin on Tuesday. Because of the devastation to the C Concourse, it will remain closed. Lambert has worked with the carriers in that concourse to move their operations. Lambert has re-opened once vacant gates in the B Concourse for AirTran and Frontier. The B Concourse checkpoint is also open to serve those airlines. Lambert has also re-opened several D Concourse gates which were not being used for American and Cape Air. We give tremendous credit to Ameren for restoring service to Lambert so that the Airport could open just 24 hours after the devastating tornado, said Director Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge. Thanks also has to go to the numerous crews and workers who have worked with the Airport to clean up and make emergency repairs to get where we are today. The Airport Director believes Lambert TMs airlines will probably reach 85 percent capacity on Monday. For April, Lambert has been operating 256 daily departures per day. Travelers should still contact their airlines for the latest flight information.

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Storm Victims Call Red Cross: (314) 516-2700, To Make Donations to Red Cross : (314) 516-2800

To Make Donations to United Way : 1-800-427-4626, United Way Tornado Relief: 1-866-444-7669


Residents of St. Louis tonight are still sifting through the aftermath of a tornado that took out homes and forced the city's only passenger airport to shut down.

On Friday and Saturday, violent thunderstorms raced from Oklahoma to Indiana, but the damage in St. Louis could have an impact on air travel for days. The good news is that, amazingly, no one was killed.

CBS News correspondent Cynthia Bowers reports that witnesses in St. Louis to the storm say it was bedlam. Even though Lambert Field was under a tornado watch, no one expected a powerful tornado to barrel down a runway and slam into the historic airport.

Enormous windows shattered, sending glass flying into Lambert's main terminal. Surveillance video shows the time of impact with travelers and airport employees racing for cover to avoid flying debris.

Airlines cancel St. Louis flights after tornado Mo. tornadoes destroy homes, damage airport Photos: Devastating Missouri storms

"We get to the terminal and lights were out, glass everywhere, blood everywhere from people had been cut," said one witness, Ross Taylor.

Three planes filled with passengers rode out the twister on the tarmac. East of the airport, dozens of homes bore the brunt of a twister packing winds of up to 166 miles per hour.

In Maryland Heights, residents scavenged through what was left of their homes, searching for anything that wasn't blown away.

"It was scary. I never want to live through something like that again," said TK.

The small city of Berkely, just east of the airport, was also hard hit.

Emery Washington and his family made it to the basement just seconds before the tornado completely destroyed their home. Folks here are just grateful there were no injuries.

"My whole life flashed before my eyes. I hope I never experience that again. I hope no one experiences that again," Washington said.

The state has declared the area a disaster area and the 30,000 residents without power could be in the dark for days.

"It was horrific and for that much damage to been done, to have no loss of life, is truly a blessing," said Mayor Francis Slay.

The storm is the strongest to hit this area since 1967 and followed a similar path. This storm carved up a 30 mile path, laying claim to neighborhoods rich and poor, and more storms are on the way.

Forcasters caution an extremely dangerous weather pattern is forming that could drop tornados just as strong as the one that hit St. Louis from Illinois to Texas.