Tornado Causes Injuries, Closes St. Louis Airport

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An apparent tornado touched down at Lambert Airport in St. Louis, MO on Friday, injuring several people, blowing out windows, spreading debris and wreckage across the airfield.

All incoming and outgoing flights were grounded. In addition, several cars were damaged in the parking garage, with some being overturned. An Air National Guard facility at the airport was reported damaged, as well.

Jerry Lea, spokesman for the airport, did not have an exact number of those injured. The extent of the injuries was not immediately known, either. He did note that the injuries were believed to be from shattered glass.

There were no reports of damage to any planes, local media reported. However, the National Weather Service said the roof may have been blown off of Concord C. Airport officials said that it was confirmed that storm blew out glass on Concourse C. Upper-level terminals were also damaged.

The airport's main terminal sustained the most damage, with roughly half of its windows blown out. Glass shattered and fell into the building. Around the facility, trees were felled and power lines downed.

One person described the chaos. Dianna Merrill, 43, was at Lambert airport waiting to fly to New York with a friend for a vacation. She said her flight had already been delayed by weather and she was looking out a window when all hell broke loose. The window imploded. "Glass was blowing everywhere. The ceiling was falling. The glass was hitting us in the face. Hail and rain were coming in. The wind was blowing debris all over the place. It was like being in a horror movie. Grown men were crying. It was horrible."

The airport remains closed on Saturday as workers try to make repairs.

Meanwhile, possible damage from a tornado, was also reported at several towns near the airport. Those towns included Bridgeton, St. Ann, Ferguson, Maryland Heights, and Florissant. Interstate 270 in that area was closed. Trees and power lines were reported downed.

At Busch Stadium, officials hurriedly moved fans to shelter areas as tornado sirens sounded. The Cincinnati Reds were in town to face the St. Louis Cardinals. Any cancellation of the game was the responsibility and decision of the umpires, since the game was already underway. They opted to play the game, though there was a delay because of rain. The Cardinals won, 4-2.

The utility company Ameren Missouri reported more than 39,000 power outages.

Lambert-St. Louis International Airport (IATA: STL, ICAO: KSTL, FAA LID: STL) is the primary airport for St. Louis, MO. It is the largest airport in the state of Missouri.

According to Wikipedia:

Lambert-St. Louis International Airport covers 2,800 acres (1,133 ha) and has four runways:

Runway 12R/30L: 11,019 x 200 ft (3,359 x 61 m), Surface: Concrete
Runway 12L/30R: 9,003 x 150 ft (2,744 x 46 m), Surface: Concrete
Runway 11/29: 9,000 x 150 ft (2,743 x 46 m), Surface: Concrete
Runway 6/24: 7,602 x 150 ft (2,317 x 46 m), Surface: Concrete

The airport has two terminals with a total of 5 concourses. International flights and passengers use Terminal 2, whose lower level holds the Immigration and Customs gates.

Terminal 1 (formerly Main Terminal) includes:
Concourse A: Gates A2-A6, A8-A10, A12, A14-A19, A21
Concourse B: Gates B2-B4, B6-B8, B10, B12, B14, B16
Concourse C: Gates C1-C3, C5-C10, C12, C15-C19, C21, C23-C25, C27-C32, C36, C38
Concourse D: Gates D2, D4, D6, D8, D10. Gates D12 through D36 were closed in October 2008.

Terminal 2 (formerly East Terminal) includes:
Concourse E: Gates E4, E6, E8, E10, E12, E14, E16, E18, E20, E22, E24, E25, E29, E31, E33.

Image Source: Wikipedia

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