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Saturday, April 23, 2011
KIRKWOOD SAFE - AIRPORT DEVASTATED
One young man on his way to South Dakota to spend Easter with his dad is a KHS student and was interviewed last night. He had been on one of the 3 planes which was stuck on the tarmack, unable to get to a jetway, too much debris on the runways...those people finally got off the planes and into the terminal. One of those planes was blown into another. One plane this morning has a huge piece of sheet metal stuck in its tail, like someone had slit a balsawood model and inserted an extra piece perpendicular to the tail; that plane also has nose damage, the only one of the 5 planes on the ground that was actually damaged, some had some scrapes but nothing serious...
Having spent much of my life flying in and out of Lambert, going there to fly with my dad, a hobbyist pilot, and being at the airport the day it opened, it's difficult to see the coverage of the airport so damaged. On TV now is showing the workers pushing out the remnants of broken glass from the frames, it's heart breaking. They say now MAYBE airport can open on Monday. Just heard that flights were diverted to KC, and now those passengers are being bused here from KC.
We are SO fortunate to be where we are, but oh so many have had their lives uprooted like the huge trees in their yards. Several churches are without rooves, many homes are totally ruined, large and small homes, businesses...it's awful... Stay tuned to your national news programs, we're getting a lot of international coverage. One person had a 4AM text message from relatives in Turkey hearing about our disaster on their TV!
I have a hard time even saying Happy Easter! But hope you are enjoying a lovely spring and Easter weekend wherever you are!
Later, 750 homes at least in one community, 1150 some in another; some will be condemned, others repaired. The airport will accept a few flights inbound tonight, they are thinking they'll have some in and out tomorrow but there is still no electricity and fuel pumps have not yet been tested. They may truck in fuel for the planes; there has been a report of a possible fuel tank problem... they have released realtime surveillance footage in the terminal from last night which is amazing! The damage from this storm has been rated as F4, which is the second worst rating. Only .7% of tornados rate this high in damage...
MONDAY, statistics after the investigators reported: What is being called the Good Friday tornado was one long-track tornado 22 miles long, .4mile wide. The most severe, in Bridgeton and airport area, was damage level EF4, on a scale from EF1, lowest, to EF5. Only 7/10 of one percent of all tornadoes are EF4 and EF5. EF4 is partially defined as bearing 166 to 200 mph winds. St. Louis now has the honor of being the city with the most damaging tornadoes of any city in the US. Places like TX, OK and Kansas have tornadoes too, but frequently theirs happen in areas with large open spaces, farms, ranches, etc. where the damage may be widespread, but population is low density, not many structures, etc.
We had a rainy dreary Easter Day, sun is shining today, but storms have been predicted for today and/or tonight, more tomorrow. ugh...... Hope everyone had a nice Easter day!
Monday night, more statistics: There were 4 separate tornadoes from west of the airport to Highland, IL which had an EF2 damage rating. Waterloo, Il was an EF1 hit. Lambert is 90% functional at this time, with Concourse C closed indefinitely. At the worst, 46,000 customers were without power in St. Louis County, the number now being down to 3566. There were 1041 homes in Maryland Heights damaged with an additional 69 condemned which I believe will be leveled as opposed to being rebuilt, not positive about that. And I still have heard of no deaths. Amazing!