Entries in Lambert-St. Louis International Airport (3)


Tornado Destruction: St. Louis Residents Clean Up After Storm

Whitney Curtis/Getty Images(ST. LOUIS) -- People in the St. Louis area are recovering in the wake of a monster tornado -- the worst in nearly a half century -- that damaged or destroyed hundreds of homes and ripped through the major airport over the weekend.

New damage totals show some 2,700 buildings around St. Louis damaged, and 100 homes destroyed, including Marcy Baker's house.

She was spending Easter weekend in Dallas with her family when she got a call that her house had been hit. She drove home 12 hours to find her house destroyed.

"I have a 15-month-old, I'm pregnant. It's devastating," Baker said.

At a nearby Catholic church, the 40-foot steeple toppled during the tornado that struck in the middle of Good Friday services.

Power was knocked out to as many as 47,000 customers after the tornado. On Sunday, some 26,000 customers remained without power and officials said many could remain in the dark until Monday. No one was killed and a handful of injuries were reported.

At Lambert Airport, surveillance video captured the exact moment a 135-mile-an-hour tornado struck, ripping off the roof and sending metal flying. Officials are fixing hundreds of panes of broken glass. It could take months and millions of dollars to fully complete the clean up.

Flights were getting back to normal after the airport reopened Saturday. Airport director Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge says the continuing repairs to the airport shouldn't impact travelers.

"The majority of the windows are boarded up, still doing just a little bit of work on that but the airport itself is structurally sound," she said.

Yet despite all this, victims are counting their blessings. There were no reported deaths as a result of the tornado.

"It's a miracle out of all the devastation. There were absolutely no fatalities, and very few injuries," said Terry Hayes.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Cleanup Continues in St. Louis Following Tornado

Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images(ST. LOUIS) -- St. Louis' Lambert Airport opened Saturday night for some arriving flights after a tornado caused such terrible damage to the main terminal on Friday.

The storm ripped part of the roof off the airport's main concourse, blew out glass windows and wreaked havoc on the runway, damaging a handful of planes.

"It's going to take a while before the C concourse can be functional," airport director Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge said. "A good portion of the roof is absolutely gone, every window is out of that as well as extensive damage to a number of the actual restaurants and stuff in the concourse."

She said one passenger jet was severely damaged and five or six others sustained lesser damage.

Officials hoped to restore the airport to 70 percent operating capacity by Sunday, though they cautioned that to achieve that, they need to first restore electricity to the facility. The damaged concourse will be closed for the coming months.

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay said today that already crews have made dramatic progress cleaning things up at the airport.

Gov. Jay Nixon said 750 homes in the region were damaged and that President Obama pledged federal assistance during a phone conversation. The tornado also caused widespread damage and power outages in St. Louis County, and power company officials said many could remain in the dark until Monday.

The National Weather Service reported damage consistent with winds gusting over 135 miles per hour during the brunt of the storm.

Most of the danger at the airport resulted from shattered glass, which was sent flying when approximately half of the windows in Terminal 1 blew in as the storm hit.

Despite the damage, officials said they were relieved that only five people were hospitalized due to injuries sustained at the airport, and that all of them were treated and released.

According to the National Weather Service, the storm was one of about two dozen tornadoes that hit across five Midwest states Friday, and it is likely that there are more to come, especially in Oklahoma and Arkansas.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Apparent Tornado Rips Through St. Louis Airport

ABC News/File(ST. LOUIS) -- Lambert-St. Louis International Airport remained closed Saturday morning after an apparent tornado swept through parts of St. Louis and severely damaged the airport Friday.

Officials say a total of four people had to be taken to a local hospital for treatment to minor injuries after storms pummeled the airport and surrounding areas on Friday evening. While the injuries to individuals were said to be minor, the damage to the airport was major.

Airport officials say Terminal 1 and Concourse C suffered the majority of the damage, with 50 percent of the windows and parts of the roof being wrecked by the storm. Vehicles and other equipment at the airport were reportedly tossed around as the storm hit the area, leaving behind damaged roadways and considerable ruin to airport entrances. However, officials say it appears that planes were spared the wrath of the storms.

“We are working with all the airlines to assess damage, at this time we do not believe any aircraft was damaged,” Lambert- St. Louis Int’l Airport Director Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge said in a statement.

Officials say the airport remained closed indefinitely as crews worked to clean up the mess left by the severe weather conditions.

Thousands of residents in the surrounding areas and in other parts of Missouri were also left in the dark Friday, after storms knocked out power. Several homes and other structures sustained damage, while trees and power lines came tumbling down as a result of high winds.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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