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Missouri Storms: “Grown men were crying”

Posted by feww on April 24, 2011

EF4 Tornado Devastates Airport 

Massive Tornado Rips Through Lambert-St. Louis International Airport

The most powerful tornado to strike Missouri in nearly 50 years forces the Airport to close down indefinitely

The airport officials have cancelled all departing and most arriving flights until further notice:

“All operations are closed here today and there are no flight activities until assessments can be made of the damage and what it will take to make the facility safe enough to resume flights,” an airport spokesman said.

A tornadic supercell also flattened/heavily damaged homes and businesses, felled trees and tore down power lines throughout Berkeley, Bridgeton,  Maryland Heights and several other communities in north St. Louis County.

No fatalities were reported as of posting. However, at least 5  people were reportedly hospitalized after sustaining injuries from flying glass and debris at the Airport as the mega twister ripped off the roof of the main terminal building and blew out doors and half the windows.

The tornado that ripped through the airport and the nearby neighborhoods in St. Louis County was at least an EF4 storm on the 5-level Enhanced Fujira tornado-strength scale, NWS said.

People watching the tornado from the airport terminal, suddenly had to run for their lives, as the twister ripped through the main terminal, an eye-witness told reporters.

“About the time we came into the building, the doors blew off,”  he said.

“Literally 10 seconds later, it was over. It’s amazing to me more people weren’t hurt.”

Another eyewitness said:

“Glass was blowing everywhere. The ceiling was falling. The wind was blowing debris all over the place,” she said.

“It was like being in a horror movie. Grown men were crying. It was horrible.”

US Weather Forecast Map

Click images to enlarge.

Severe Weather and Flash Flooding Forecast

Several waves of thunderstorms will move through the region during the next few days, with heavy rainfall contributing to flash flooding and ongoing river flooding across parts of Missouri and Illinois. Some of the storms may also be severe, especially on Monday and Monday night. NWS

Graphical Nowcast.
A front has stalled over the area and will remain in the area through the weekend with periods of heavy rain producing thunderstorms and an increasingly high risk for flooding. Source: NWS/MO

State of Emergency

Missouri Gov Nixon has declared a states of emergency after preliminary reports showed about 100 homes were destroyed and 750 other buildings were damaged as a result of the storm, leaving hundreds of people displaced.

“Its just amazing that an F-4 tornado could come through a highly populated area with no fatalities. People got a 34-minute warning and that warning saved countless lives,” Nixon said.

About 50,000 homes were without electricity, after the storm tore down power lines.

Bridgeton, MO, was one of the areas severly damaged by Friday storms. The twister damage was followed by extra-large hail and flash flooding. Photo: Jeff Roberson/AP. Image may be subject to copyright.

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