Violent EF-4 tornado causes severe damage at St. Louis' airport

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:25 PM GMT on April 23, 2011

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A violent EF-4 tornado ripped through St. Louis near 8pm local time Friday night, severely damaging Lambert International Airport. The airport, the world's 30th busiest, may be closed for several days. The tornado ripped off the roof from Concourse C, blew out more than half of the windows in the main terminal, and moved an aircraft that was parked at a gate twenty feet. So far, only minor injuries due to flying glass have been reported from the tornado. The tornado also passed over nearby residential areas, causing severe damage. The National Weather Service office in St. Louis has rated the damage from the St. Louis tornado EF-4, making the twister the first violent EF-4 tornado of the year. Softball-sized hail also pelted three towns in Missouri--Hermann, Big Spring, and Warrenton--during Friday night's severe weather outbreak. NOAA's Storm Prediction Center logged 24 tornado reports Friday in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, and Kentucky. The cold front responsible for triggering last night's severe weather will remain draped over the nation's mid-section for the next three days, and a slight risk of severe weather is predicted along a swath from Texas to Ohio both Saturday and Sunday. A more substantial risk of severe weather is likely on Tuesday through Wednesday, as a new, more powerful spring storm system gathers strength over the Midwest.


Figure 1. Radar reflectivity image of the EF-4 St. Louis tornado taken near 8pm local time on Friday, April 22, 2010. This image is from the high-resolution Terminal Doppler Radar (TDR) at the St. Louis Airport, and shows very fine details of the tornado, which displays a classic hook echo here.


Figure 2. Radar Doppler velocity image of the St. Louis tornado taken near 8pm local time on Friday, April 22, 2010. This image is from the high-resolution Terminal Doppler Radar (TDR) at the St. Louis Airport, located at the "+" sign on the image. Green colors denote areas where precipitation is moving towards the radar, and red and yellow colors show where precipitation is moving away from the radar. Pink colors are bad data regions. The small couplet of greens right next to reds is where the tornado was, since the tight vortex had winds moving towards the radar and away from the radar. The area marked "RFD" shows where a Rear-Flank Downdraft (RFD) was occurring behind the tornado. The downdraft hit the ground to the west of the radar site and spread out in all directions, creating a diverging area of winds moving both towards and away from the radar. An area of air flowing into the tornado on the SE side is marked "Inflow." Thanks go to Dr. Rob Carver, wunderground's tornado expert, for annotating this image.


Figure 3.
Remarkable video from a security camera at the St. Louis airport showing the roof being torn off Concourse C.


Figure 4. Severe damage characteristic of at least a strong EF-2 tornado is apparent from this helicopter view of residential St. Louis neighborhoods taken by KMOV.

Jeff Masters

Lambert St. Louis Tornado Damage (WindyCityBob)
Taken after the good friday tornado at Lambert Field St.Louis, MO
Lambert St. Louis Tornado Damage

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Funny how things work out. Ordinarily the people here are rooting for tropical disturbances and cyclones to dissipate, yet now they're rooting for the survival of one.

Don't mind me. I'm just being facetious. Happy Easter everyone!
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@ sammy...

Looks that way. Hopefully we'll get a few more nice showers like that one we just had. Dunno how far west it's going to drift before it fizzles, though.
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22563
Quoting CatfishJones:
91L died like two days ago...


No just considerably weakened LLC floating around into warmer waters with a short time-frame of low shear, then it dies.

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91L died like two days ago...
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91L is currently headed W. I don't know if it will make it to Florida, but there is a slight chance.

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Quoting BahaHurican:
Ah... the sweet sweet sound of rain.... at last... lol
91L has not given us any rain in South Florida yet. It's been Partly Cloudy all day. Which direction is 91L naked swirl headed? NW?
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x-91L should have a few hours of low shear, and most of the dry air has dissipated now. After that there is some strong upper level westerlies headed it's way, which will shear off any convection it manages to build over the night. Hard to tell exactly how much strength the LLC has left, but it isn't anywhere close to what it was a few days ago (still showing near TS gusts at the buoy it passed last night though).

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Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1950
Reported By: Robert Hettchen
Tornado
Time 2011-04-24 22:24:00 UTC
Notes: just filmed large violent multi vortex 5 miles to my north on 283. was stilll on the ground moveing east. hail to baseballs as well

from spotter network
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Ah... the sweet sweet sound of rain.... at last... lol
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22563
Yazoo City, Ms 1 year ago today



Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1950
BahaHurican
...Actually, my uncle and family are in Nassau for Easter.... lol

{in da big city all dress up in Easter finest...}

Your swirl looks a mite cloudier than mine... it's been pretty still here all afternoon, but overcast...

=========================
It's been mostly clear skies today, we may have gotten a "trace" of rain last night (or at least a very HEAVY dew...)

Bar. here still over 1015, so I will sleep ok, with both eyes closed tonight.

-----------------
Spoke at length with my sister in Athens Ohio this afternoon, and their most recent "crest" in the river there passed today at 3 ft. above flood stage, she would gladly send rain somewhere else... of course all that water is headed down the Ohio River.
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Look at this huge low level moisture plume headed up eastern Texas and wester Louisiana to merge with the front.


Radar

I doubt it's even raining there, but it shows up on the radar. Brownsville was doing this all morning, but much weaker.

Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Missouri are all going to get yet another big wave of torrential rains and severe storms several hours from now when that starts to merge.
Member Since: April 12, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 214
Strong tornado vortex signature headed for the Lake Possum Kingdom area, prayed for rain well they got it and possibly more
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Tornado forming here:

http://weather.wdtinc.com/popout/index.php?M=1016 4&C=20226&O=10195
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Quoting 1900hurricane:
Well, this graphic is concerning.....



Is that Cairo in Illinois? The junction of the Ohio/Mississippi Rivers? Last week I predicted flooding upstream near the Missouri/Illinois/Wisconsin Rivers' junctions at the Mississippi. Now there's rain expected in all those areas and possible snow lingering upstream. The lower Mississippi should watch out for some severe flooding come this May and June. The jet stream will place more storms along that track. Just take a look at the CPC hazards assessment.



Memphis, Tennessee:

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Very strong thunderstorm to my Southwest, I have a friend just across the bay in Southern Hillsborough county that says hes getting 0.50 inch hail, torrential rain and intense lighting.

The storm coverage may only be isolated, but still, its a nice early sneak peak of the wet season storm pattern! My favorite kind :)

Looks like the sea breeze convergence may try to build those heavier cells up into my area. I might not get anything because its just isolated coverage, not the numerous and heavier activity during the wet season. But still, its interesting to watch the thunderheads grow and build, I can hear the thunder easily even though they are 25 miles away from me still.
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On monday around 4pm, 91L will be at 80 west entering the straights. On tuesday at 4pm, it will be over the eastern edge of the loop eddie in the gulf, pumping up along the front like crazy, no doubt.

Hope the front gets away from Missouri and Ohio basins by then.

Pop up showers are finally showing up in Florida and the western bahamas with the 91L.
Member Since: April 12, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 214
Rand, unfortunately it's still too dry out to make me happy... hopefully CRS will have better news as the evening progresses. He did say winds were out of the west, suggesting whatever's left of the circulation is passing north of TCI...
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22563
Quoting 1900hurricane:
Well, this graphic is concerning.....




More concerning is the +10" rainfall expected for the MS-OH river area
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Quoting CaicosRetiredSailor:


Have you talked to folks in Mayaguana today?
(If you do wish them a joyous Easter from us here on Provo...)

The breeze here is now definitely from the West.
Actually, my uncle and family are in Nassau for Easter.... lol

Your swirl looks a mite cloudier than mine... it's been pretty still here all afternoon, but overcast...
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22563
ITS GETTING HOT WHERE I LIVE AT IN NEW HAVEN CT!!

Jason- i hope you have many refreshing Red Bulls in the fridge to keep you hydrated!!!
Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 171 Comments: 26253
Well, this graphic is concerning.....

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Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:


What if 91L tries to re-develop


It's unlikely to ever get strong enough to classify no matter what else happens.


The most likely thing is that tomorrow and the next day it's remnant will just serve to enhance the moisture feeding into this front over the central plains.

Don't expect it to get a floater again, and would be shocked if it ever actually developed. Too much shear.
Member Since: April 12, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 214
Interesting Feature in the EPAC. Not much in the world, tropical cyclones wise.
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Quoting RandomText:
All the buoys from the Florida straights over to the area north of Puerto Rico show falling pressure.

I guess that means 91L still is an actual low, albeit very weak.


What if 91L tries to re-develop
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Quoting NCHurricane2009:


Phew...that's hot. Down south here in Raleigh, NC, car thermometer was reading 90F...
have already read 97F in Austin, TX this spring... Going to be a HOT summer down here... :/
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All the buoys from the Florida straights over to the area north of Puerto Rico show falling pressure.

I guess that means 91L still is an actual low, albeit very weak.
Member Since: April 12, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 214
Severe thunderstorms for New York City, New Haven area

Tornado Warning
TORNADO WARNING
MDC031-VAC107-242030-
/O.NEW.KLWX.TO.W.0019.110424T2003Z-110424T2030Z/

BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
TORNADO WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON DC
403 PM EDT SUN APR 24 2011

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN STERLING VIRGINIA HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
CENTRAL MONTGOMERY COUNTY IN CENTRAL MARYLAND...
EAST CENTRAL LOUDOUN COUNTY IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA...

* UNTIL 430 PM EDT

* AT 402 PM EDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO NEAR
LANSDOWNE...MOVING EAST AT 40 MPH.

* LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE...
POOLESVILLE...
BOYDS...
NORTH POTOMAC...
GERMANTOWN...
GAITHERSBURG...
MONTGOMERY VILLAGE...
ROCKVILLE...
ASPEN HILL...

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

TAKE COVER NOW. MOVE TO AN INTERIOR ROOM ON THE LOWEST FLOOR OF A
STURDY BUILDING AND AVOID WINDOWS. IF OUTDOORS OR IN A MOBILE HOME OR
VEHICLE...MOVE TO THE CLOSEST SUBSTANTIAL SHELTER AND PROTECT
YOURSELF FROM FLYING DEBRIS.

486. The answer is BOTH cities have been hit hard by ttornadoes
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Quoting AstroHurricane001:


Holy...that's the storm expected to kick-start the flooding rains over Southern Ontario next week.
what ya mean next week rains start for us as showers tomorrow afternoon around 3 4 pm and rain off an on with embedded TS's tuseday early wed rain after that till late fri early sat morning
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54827
Quoting AstroHurricane001:
Quiz:

What metropolitan areas have been hit by a tornado this year?


Raleigh, NC
St. Louis, MO
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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54827
All the tornado activity right now seems concentrated in north-central Arkansas:

http://www.srh.noaa.gov/lzk/

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Quiz:

What metropolitan areas have been hit by a tornado this year?
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Quoting emcf30:
First image NAM 36 hr. This one GFS 42 hr



Look at our ex invest in the Bahamas


Holy...that's the storm expected to kick-start the flooding rains over Southern Ontario next week.
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


Boom goes the dynamite!
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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54827
Quoting jasonweatherman2010:
ITS GETTING HOT WHERE I LIVE AT IN NEW HAVEN CT!!


Phew...that's hot. Down south here in Raleigh, NC, car thermometer was reading 90F...
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ITS GETTING HOT WHERE I LIVE AT IN NEW HAVEN CT!!
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Ex-91L is still feelable on Foreca maps!It's located near 23N69W and isn't creating convection.It's in the easterly trade winds.The only thing it has is moisture.
Member Since: May 19, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 358
nice to see you make yourself at home again JRRP, so whats going on lately.
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475. JRRP


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Totally messed up.

Cell in Arkansas already has a band of 3 inches per hour rainfall rates again. This should train into Missouri.
Member Since: April 12, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 214
The PWAT is up to about 1.4 to 1.6 in Central Florida today, since it is all surface based moisture that is definitely decent although still dry compared to the classed 2 to 2.2 inch PWAT in the deep tropical wet season pattern.

However, although the moisture is only shallow and very dry air is above that, instability is impressive with a strong lifted index, high surface CAPE, and cold air aloft. This should support a few strong storms along the sea breeze collision in the Tampa Bay area tonight.

I can't wait till the actual wet season pattern gets cranked up!
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Quoting aspectre:
Thanks for the article, alphabob, and the link... which allowed me to insert a different link into comment426. I knew I'd gotten my info from NHKWorld, yet couldn't refind it until your posting.

There is a possibility that one of the pieces of debris raining down from the hydrogen explosion knocked chunks off of the final concrete container shielding the inner stainless steel reactor vessel.

Hasn't it already been conceded that the reactor#3's inner vessel had been breached?
Or is that my mismemory of a speculation?


Well they admitted that the containment for #3 was breached, but they are still sticking with the hydrogen explosion story which I know is a lie for multiple reasons.

1. #3 explosion was much stronger than the other ones
2. There were 3 audible explosions when #3 went, and the first kind of sounded like a firecracker going off in a glass jar (muffled).
3. It used MOX and the literature states that MOX is known for melting at lower temperatures, and has a higher chance of causing a fuel/coolant reaction (basically the water level was below the rods and the rods melted and fell into it causing rapid expansion, this was no hydrogen explosion).
4. There was no smoke coming from the core of #3 long after the explosion, only the spent fuel rod pool. So obviously the core material is no longer where it should be.
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Interesting question, we have seen alot of Ef4´s or 3´s lately. Is there any precursor to what is causing the ramp up in the classification, and like what was seen in the Greensburg Tornado, could we be on tap for another 5?
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Thanks for the article, alphabob, and the link... which allowed me to insert a different link into comment426. I knew I'd gotten my info from NHKWorld, yet couldn't refind it until your posting.

There is a possibility that one of the pieces of debris raining down from the hydrogen explosion knocked chunks off of the final concrete container shielding the inner stainless steel reactor vessel.

Hasn't it already been conceded that reactor#3's inner vessel had been breached?
Or is that my mismemory of a speculation?
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Quoting BahaHurican:
Back again... had to wait out a little light shower, and skies are currently overcast. We may yet get our rain...



Have you talked to folks in Mayaguana today?
(If you do wish them a joyous Easter from us here on Provo...)

The breeze here is now definitely from the West.
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I will keep watching the ex91L swirl until it goes North... the precursor to Hanna was unnamed and up by Mayaguana when it "relocated" over the hot water on the Caicos Bank as a Category one and was named.
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Back again... had to wait out a little light shower, and skies are currently overcast. We may yet get our rain...



Obviously the clouds are pretty light, but hopefully enough to give a wetting-down.

Looks like the worst of the storms over the Midwest have shifted north today...
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22563
This is going to get UGLY.

The Mexican low has started moving NE and has convection near it's core, which it didn't have yesterday.

And 91L's pathetic looking ghost is going to start pumping even more low level moisture along that ridge. You can already see it happening. More important tomorrow and the next day though.

We got clouds coming off the Gulf over Louisiana headed north through Mississippi right towards Tennessee and Kentucky where they already have flooding. Probably gonna pop a few hours from now in northern Mississippi or Tennessee.

All these trains of moisture are going to converge right back in the same spot again.
Member Since: April 12, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 214

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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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