Tornado Rips Through St. Louis Airport

'Grown men were crying,' say witness

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Apr 23, 2011 5:37 AM CDT

(Newser) – St. Louis' main airport was closed for business today while crews cleaned up after an apparent tornado tore through a terminal, causing several injuries and sending people scurrying for shelter as plated glass shattered around them. Last night's storm at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport ripped away a large section of the main terminal's roof, forcing the airport to close indefinitely and diverting incoming flights to other cities. "We have all hands on deck here," Mayor Francis Slay said.

Dianna Merrill was looking out a window for her plane when the window suddenly exploded. "Glass was blowing everywhere. The ceiling was falling. The glass was hitting us in the face. Hail and rain were coming in," she said. "It was like being in a horror movie. Grown men were crying. It was horrible." Elsewhere around St. Louis, residents in suburbs were waking to damaged homes, fallen trees and downed power lines—the remains of a fierce line of storms that moved through central and eastern Missouri. In downtown St. Louis, Busch Stadium officials hurriedly moved Cardinals fans to a safe area as tornado sirens blared. The game with the Cincinnati Reds was delayed for hours but later resumed. Click through the gallery for more scenes.

A van hangs over the side of a parking garage at Lambert St. Louis International Airport Friday, April 22, 2011, in St. Louis. Several people were injured Friday after an apparent tornado touched down.
A van hangs over the side of a parking garage at Lambert St. Louis International Airport Friday, April 22, 2011, in St. Louis. Several people were injured Friday after an apparent tornado touched down.   (Jeff Roberson)
A security officer is seen inside damaged terminal one at Lambert St. Louis International Airport Friday, April 22, 2011, in St. Louis. Several people at the airport were injured Friday after an apparent tornado touched down, spewing debris over the airfield, bursting glass in the concourse and damaging cars atop...
A security officer is seen inside damaged terminal one at Lambert St. Louis International Airport Friday, April 22, 2011, in St. Louis. Several people at the airport were injured Friday after an apparent...   (Jeff Roberson)
Storm damage is seen next to a parking garage outside terminal one at St. Louis International Airport Friday, April 22, 2011, in St. Louis. Several people at Lambert Airport in St. Louis were injured Friday after an apparent tornado touched down, spewing debris over the airfield, bursting glass in the...
Storm damage is seen next to a parking garage outside terminal one at St. Louis International Airport Friday, April 22, 2011, in St. Louis. Several people at Lambert Airport in St. Louis were injured...   (Jeff Roberson)
Stranded passengers are seen inside a darkened and damaged terminal at Lambert St. Louis International Airport Friday, April 22, 2011, in St. Louis. Minor injuries were reported at the airport Friday after an apparent tornado touched down, spewing debris over the airfield, bursting glass in the concourse and damaging cars...
Stranded passengers are seen inside a darkened and damaged terminal at Lambert St. Louis International Airport Friday, April 22, 2011, in St. Louis. Minor injuries were reported at the airport Friday...   (Jeff Roberson)
Terry Hayes, 63, right, with the help of his son Robert Hayes survey the remains of his house after what residents believe to be a tornado touched down earlier in the evening on Beaverton Drive, Friday, April 22, 2011 in St. Louis.
Terry Hayes, 63, right, with the help of his son Robert Hayes survey the remains of his house after what residents believe to be a tornado touched down earlier in the evening on Beaverton Drive, Friday,...   (Tom Gannam)
Robert Hayes surveys the remains of his fathers house after what residents believe to be a tornado touched down earlier in the evening on Beaverton Drive, Friday, April 22, 2011 in St. Louis. Gov. Jay Nixon announced late Friday he had declared a state of emergency, allowing state agencies to...
Robert Hayes surveys the remains of his fathers house after what residents believe to be a tornado touched down earlier in the evening on Beaverton Drive, Friday, April 22, 2011 in St. Louis. Gov. Jay...   (Tom Gannam)
Storm damage is seen next to a parking garage outside terminal one at St. Louis International Airport Friday, April 22, 2011, in St. Louis. Several people at Lambert Airport in St. Louis were injured Friday after an apparent tornado touched down, spewing debris over the airfield, bursting glass in the...
Storm damage is seen next to a parking garage outside terminal one at St. Louis International Airport Friday, April 22, 2011, in St. Louis. Several people at Lambert Airport in St. Louis were injured...   (Jeff Roberson)
Rescue workers walk through storm damage is seen next to a parking garage outside terminal one at St. Louis International Airport Friday, April 22, 2011, in St. Louis. Several people at Lambert Airport in St. Louis were injured Friday after an apparent tornado touched down, spewing debris over the airfield,...
Rescue workers walk through storm damage is seen next to a parking garage outside terminal one at St. Louis International Airport Friday, April 22, 2011, in St. Louis. Several people at Lambert Airport...   (Jeff Roberson)
Storm damage is seen next to a parking garage outside terminal one at St. Louis International Airport Friday, April 22, 2011, in St. Louis. Several people at Lambert Airport in St. Louis were injured Friday after an apparent tornado touched down, spewing debris over the airfield, bursting glass in the...
Storm damage is seen next to a parking garage outside terminal one at St. Louis International Airport Friday, April 22, 2011, in St. Louis. Several people at Lambert Airport in St. Louis were injured...   (Jeff Roberson)
A traveler walks past doors that have been blown off by a strong storm at Lambert St. Louis International Airport Friday, April 22, 2011, in St. Louis. Several people at the airport were injured Friday after an apparent tornado touched down, spewing debris over the airfield, bursting glass in the...
A traveler walks past doors that have been blown off by a strong storm at Lambert St. Louis International Airport Friday, April 22, 2011, in St. Louis. Several people at the airport were injured Friday...   (Jeff Roberson)
The remains of houses and scattered debris are all that is left on part of Beaverton Drive in St. Louis Missouri after what residents believe was a tornado touched down earlier in the evening, Friday, April 22, 2011 in St. Louis. Gov. Jay Nixon announced late Friday he had declared...
The remains of houses and scattered debris are all that is left on part of Beaverton Drive in St. Louis Missouri after what residents believe was a tornado touched down earlier in the evening, Friday,...   (Tom Gannam)
Robert Hayes surveys the remains of his fathers house after what residents believe to be a tornado touched down earlier in the evening on Beaverton Drive, in St. Louis Missouri Friday, April 22, 2011. Gov. Jay Nixon announced late Friday he had declared a state of emergency, allowing state agencies...
Robert Hayes surveys the remains of his fathers house after what residents believe to be a tornado touched down earlier in the evening on Beaverton Drive, in St. Louis Missouri Friday, April 22, 2011....   (Tom Gannam)
A turned over lawn tractor lies among the debris that remains of Terry Hayes' home on Beaverton Drive in St. Louis Missouri after what residents believe was a tornado touched down earlier in the evening, Friday, April 22, 2011. Gov. Jay Nixon announced late Friday he had declared a state...
A turned over lawn tractor lies among the debris that remains of Terry Hayes' home on Beaverton Drive in St. Louis Missouri after what residents believe was a tornado touched down earlier in the evening,...   (Tom Gannam)
Officers from the St. Louis County police department inspect the remains of a home on Beaverton Drive in St. Louis Missouri after what residents believe was a tornado touched down earlier in the evening, Friday, April 22, 2011. Gov. Jay Nixon announced late Friday he had declared a state of...
Officers from the St. Louis County police department inspect the remains of a home on Beaverton Drive in St. Louis Missouri after what residents believe was a tornado touched down earlier in the evening,...   (Tom Gannam)
Storm damage is seen next to a parking garage outside terminal one at St. Louis International Airport Friday, April 22, 2011, in St. Louis. Several people at Lambert Airport in St. Louis were injured Friday after an apparent tornado touched down, spewing debris over the airfield, bursting glass in the...
Storm damage is seen next to a parking garage outside terminal one at St. Louis International Airport Friday, April 22, 2011, in St. Louis. Several people at Lambert Airport in St. Louis were injured...   (Jeff Roberson)
A van hangs over the side of a parking garage at Lambert St. Louis International Airport Friday, April 22, 2011, in St. Louis. Several people at the airport were injured Friday after an apparent tornado touched down, spewing debris over the airfield, bursting glass in the concourse and damaging cars...
A van hangs over the side of a parking garage at Lambert St. Louis International Airport Friday, April 22, 2011, in St. Louis. Several people at the airport were injured Friday after an apparent tornado...   (Jeff Roberson)
The remains of houses and scattered debris are all that is left on part of Beaverton Drive in St. Louis Missouri after what residents believe was a tornado touched down earlier in the evening, Friday, April 22, 2011. Gov. Jay Nixon announced late Friday he had declared a state of...
The remains of houses and scattered debris are all that is left on part of Beaverton Drive in St. Louis Missouri after what residents believe was a tornado touched down earlier in the evening, Friday,...   (Tom Gannam)
Terry Hayes, 63, right, with the help of his son Robert Hayes survey the remains of his house after what residents believe to be a tornado touched down earlier in the evening on Beaverton Drive, Friday, April 22, 2011 in St. Louis.
Terry Hayes, 63, right, with the help of his son Robert Hayes survey the remains of his house after what residents believe to be a tornado touched down earlier in the evening on Beaverton Drive, Friday,...   (Tom Gannam)
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