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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316. HurricaneDean07
2:51 AM GMT on April 24, 2011
Quoting Gearsts:
What do you mean? Insanity??
the SOI is extremely high, even though it should be dropping because the equatorial waters of the Pacific have warmed(meaning weaker La nina, more neutral/El nino) So the pattern due to the high SOI will be a la nina pattern, but we will have more of an active pacific year(warmer pacific waters, less shear)
Member Since: October 3, 2010 Posts: 40 Comments: 4129
315. xcool
2:51 AM GMT on April 24, 2011
La Nina hold on strong ;)))
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
314. HurricaneDean07
2:48 AM GMT on April 24, 2011
Hey Levi, What are your thoughts on the GFS already showing another possible formation in the Caribbean on May 2.
Member Since: October 3, 2010 Posts: 40 Comments: 4129
313. Gearsts
2:48 AM GMT on April 24, 2011
Quoting Levi32:
The insanity continues...

What do you mean? Insanity??
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1793
312. emcf30
2:44 AM GMT on April 24, 2011
Monthly and Annual U.S. Tornado Summaries
Link
Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1936
311. Levi32
2:39 AM GMT on April 24, 2011
The insanity continues...

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26652
310. emcf30
2:39 AM GMT on April 24, 2011
April 19, 2011
EQECAT’s analysis of historic tornado and severe convective weather (1950 to present) data shows a significant increase of tornado touchdown occurrence over the years. This observation is the result of improving tornado and hail tracking technology and improved reporting network and does not reflect large-scale climate change. Tornadoes in the 1950s and 1960s have been classified retrospectively resulting in a significant underestimation of F0 and F1 tornadoes. Until the 1980s, personal spotter reports were the major source for recorded tornadoes and hail. The use of Doppler radar in the mid- 1980s and an improved understanding of tornado and hail formation process helped in improving the reporting process especially with low F-Scale tornadoes. EQECAT’s adjustment of historic trended data produces an expectation of about 1,300 tornado touchdowns per year. According to NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center, there were 1,280 tornadoes in 2010.

The large outbreak last weekend has placed the cumulative total of tornadoes observed 2011 year-to-date at a new high for this far into the year. Tornado outbreaks have been a recurring theme in 2011 with tornadoes occurring on the January 25, February 24, February 27-28, March 22-23, March 26-27, April 3-5, April 8-11, and now the current system with tornadoes on April 14-16. The total number of 267 tornado reports from the most recent outbreak is significantly larger than the totals from the other events.

The most active year observed by NOAA was 2004 when an unadjusted 1,817 tornadoes were observed. As noted below, the season-to-date totals for 2011 are well above the 75th percentile of activity recorded by NOAA. A map of all of the seasonal tornadoes for 2004, the year of highest recorded activity, is shown below as well.

Entire story and graphs
Link
Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1936
309. Thundercloud01221991
2:39 AM GMT on April 24, 2011
Quoting TomTaylor:
Maybe 1,000 reports. But actual tornadoes? Highly doubt it. Most in a month is 543.


although 1000 of them is out of reach ... the 543 is getting close...we are at 434 confirmed tornadoes so far
Member Since: August 1, 2006 Posts: 28 Comments: 3716
307. TomTaylor
2:29 AM GMT on April 24, 2011
Quoting emcf30:


I hate to say this, but, it would not be out of the realm of possibility to reach 1000 by the end of the month,depending on how next week sets up. Dr Forbes is already giving TORCON values of 7 for next week. That is a high number being this far in advance. We all know how weather is, it can change.
Maybe 1,000 reports. But actual tornadoes? Highly doubt it. Most in a month is 543.
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4358
306. emcf30
2:29 AM GMT on April 24, 2011
Link

Storms in Tx has dumped atlot of rain. To bad it wasn't state wide
Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1936
305. TomTaylor
2:28 AM GMT on April 24, 2011
Quoting washingtonian115:
I belive that it won't be that impossible to reach a thousand tornadoes this year.Whaat are the totals so far????
Average number of tornadoes per year in US is just under 1300, so over 1,000 is completely normal
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4358
304. emcf30
2:22 AM GMT on April 24, 2011
Quoting washingtonian115:
Aw yeah.June is the worst month.then if we get landfalling tropical cyclones in the U.S thia year it could add more to the total.


I hate to say this, but, it would not be out of the realm of possibility to reach 1000 by the end of the month,depending on how next week sets up. Dr Forbes is already giving TORCON values of 7 for next week. That is a high number being this far in advance. We all know how weather is, it can change.
Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1936
302. hydrus
2:12 AM GMT on April 24, 2011
Quoting WatchingThisOne:


That loop current graphic presents rather a different picture from what is found at the NWS's EMC Marine Modeling and Analysis Branch.

I wonder why the difference? The EMC has a big old loop eddy already formed - the one you posted does not have a separate loop eddy.

EMC at 0 hours (23 April)



and at 144 hours

That is interesting.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21401
301. hydrus
2:11 AM GMT on April 24, 2011
Quoting Grothar:


Here, fathom this:

Those are almost as big as your Geritol tablets...WOW.!
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21401
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Quoting washingtonian115:
Um okay so I noticed that when a hurricane is making landfall along the Gulf coast it's cloudy up here.Florida hurricanes are the exception unless of course their hitting the panhandle.Their are plenty of exsamples.Ike,Gustav,Katrina,Ivan,Rita,and since Wilma was attached to a front she brought us rain that whole day.Even though the early part of the day is sunny.After when hurricanes finish demolishing Florida they bring cloud cover and rain the day after.(Like Charley,and Jeanne).


Never underestimate the far-reaching influence of upper-level outflow.
Member Since: March 7, 2007 Posts: 581 Comments: 20762
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
So from the looks of it, the GFS has jumped on brining a more tropical, and new low pressure system out of South America, and brings it to a depression/storm before it hitting/brushing one of the northern caribbean islands, and then takes it NE.
Member Since: October 3, 2010 Posts: 40 Comments: 4129
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294. xcool
While thunderstorms are the major concern for interests in the U.S., the GOES EAST view shows what may be the big issue during the coming summer. The tropics are very active, and I am not talking about the empty circulation over the Sargasso Sea! The ITCZ continues to percolate, with strong tropical waves progressing westward from equatorial Africa into Brazil and later, Colombia. These huge impulses have often displayed circulations, and the lead disturbance is linked to the polar westerlies over the central Atlantic Ocean. As the jet stream retreats in coming months, a higher latitude route could take these systems into the major islands as well as the Gulf and/or East Coasts.

by larry


http://www.examiner.com/weather-in-houston/weathe ramerica-newsletter-longer-term-saturday-april-23- 2011-at-6-30-p-m-ct#ixzz1KOdwxedF
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
Quoting emcf30:


We will be way above 1000. Were are not in the high yield months yet
Aw yeah.June is the worst month.then if we get landfalling tropical cyclones in the U.S thia year it could add more to the total.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting washingtonian115:
I belive that it won't be that impossible to reach a thousand tornadoes this year.Whaat are the totals so far????


We will be way above 1000. Were are not in the high yield months yet
Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1936
Quoting hydrus:


That loop current graphic presents rather a different picture from what is found at the NWS's EMC Marine Modeling and Analysis Branch.

I wonder why the difference? The EMC has a big old loop eddy already formed - the one you posted does not have a separate loop eddy.

EMC at 0 hours (23 April)



and at 144 hours

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting washingtonian115:
I belive that it won't be that impossible to reach a thousand tornadoes this year.Whaat are the totals so far????


TORNADO TOTALS AND RELATED DEATHS...THROUGH FRI APR 22 2011
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
1122 AM CDT SAT APR 23 2011

...NUMBER OF TORNADOES... NUMBER OF KILLER
TORNADO DEATHS TORNADOES
..2011.. 2010 2009 2008 3YR 3YR 3YR
PREL ACT ACT ACT ACT AV 11 10 09 08 AV 11 10 09 08 AV
JAN 10 16 30 6 84 40 0 0 0 7 2 0 0 0 4 1
FEB 67 - 1 36 147 61 1 0 9 59 23 1 0 2 12 5
MAR 115 - 33 115 129 92 1 1 0 4 2 1 1 0 3 1
APR 559 - 139 226 189 185 39 11 6 0 6 12 2 3 0 2
MAY - - 304 201 462 322 - 7 5 44 19 - 4 3 10 6
JUN - - 324 270 292 296 - 12 0 7 6 - 6 0 4 3
JUL - - 146 118 95 114 - 2 0 1 1 - 1 0 1 1
AUG - - 55 60 101 72 - 1 0 0 0 - 1 0 0 0
SEP - - 57 8 111 59 - 2 0 2 1 - 2 0 1 1
OCT - - 108 65 21 65 - 0 1 0 0 - 0 1 0 0
NOV - - 53 3 15 22 - 0 0 2 1 - 0 0 2 1
DEC - - 32 48 46 48 - 9 0 0 3 - 4 0 0 1
---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- -- -- -- --- -- -- -- -- -- --
SUM 751 16 1282 1156 1692 1376 41 45 21 126 64 14 21 9 37 22

Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1936
Quoting emcf30:


Dad thing about it, Mon thru Thursday are going to be hell. It probably will be the worst outbreak we have seen yet.
I belive that it won't be that impossible to reach a thousand tornadoes this year.Whaat are the totals so far????
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting RandomText:
270:

I think it is just getting started.

Going to be a solid wall of convection like that in a few hours, all the way from northern mexico through Illinois and beyond.


Dad thing about it, Mon thru Thursday are going to be hell. It probably will be the worst outbreak we have seen yet.
Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1936
Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1936
Quoting Grothar:


Got hit on the head with a mango once, sitting under my tree. Can't imagine thousands of those things hitting at once.


Link
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Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1936
Um okay so I noticed that when a hurricane is making landfall along the Gulf coast it's cloudy up here.Florida hurricanes are the exception unless of course their hitting the panhandle.Their are plenty of exsamples.Ike,Gustav,Katrina,Ivan,Rita,and since Wilma was attached to a front she brought us rain that whole day.Even though the early part of the day is sunny.After when hurricanes finish demolishing Florida they bring cloud cover and rain the day after.(Like Charley,and Jeanne).
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Grothar:
Sorry, got to go. I hear a strange little voice in the background saying I spend to much time on the PC and it is bad for my eyes. So I should go in and watch TV. (That makes sense) Take care everyone and have a good holiday. I may pop in later, if I am quiet.

Gute Nacht
Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1936
Sorry, got to go. I hear a strange little voice in the background saying I spend to much time on the PC and it is bad for my eyes. So I should go in and watch TV. (That makes sense) Take care everyone and have a good holiday. I may pop in later, if I am quiet.
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Quoting Grothar:


Frohes Ostereiersuchen! Come back soon.

Thanks, Grothar! Cholesterol for you, too, lol. I'm very often around but mostly quiet. And next week I'm out to Portugal. Maybe I'll post some nice pics from over there. Perhaps with a little atlantic invest near the coast of the hispanic peninsula?? -- In the mean time, stay save and happy, old friend and all the others.
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Quoting Grothar:


That's my neighborhood. I am on the first island in Coral Ridge.


Is that off of bayview?
Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1936
Quoting emcf30:


Been there a bunch of times. Have a bunch of FD Chief friends of mine down the. Fished a lot of off shore tournaments down there. Light House Point, Oakland Park, Pompano.


That's my neighborhood. I am on the first island in Coral Ridge.
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Quoting barbamz:


Hi, Dan! Easter Night in Germany, that means service in our cathedral til midnight. Afterwards a little celebration, and now: watching tornados in the US. But it's late, late, and I have to go to bed now ...


Frohes Ostereiersuchen! Come back soon.
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Quoting RandomText:
Look at the north indian ocean.

OMG. The water temperatures are incredible already.
They're getting into one of their two TC peaks about now, IIRC. Has to do with movement of the monsoonal trough...

You know, it took me far too long to catch on to the jelly fish and peanut butter sharks.... [sigh]

Must be out of practice....
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22293
Quoting Grothar:


Still do, but I go to the Ambry, which is much closer to where I live on Commericial. The Bavarian Village in Hollywood was great as well. It closed, however. You familiar with the area?


Been there a bunch of times. Have a bunch of FD Chief friends of mine down the. Fished a lot of off shore tournaments down there. Light House Point, Oakland Park, Pompano.
Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1936
Quoting emcf30:


Not going to touch that one


Are you implying you found another piece of the puzzle for my bizarre behavior? Well, it did not do any permanent damage, I just thought I was Hamlet for a few days.
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Quoting emcf30:
Hey Grothar, you ever eat at the Old Heidelburg Restaurant on SW 9th and 84(If my memory serves me right).The Paprika Rahm Schnitzel was the best.


Still do, but I go to the Ambry, which is much closer to where I live on Commericial. The Bavarian Village in Hollywood was great as well. It closed, however. You familiar with the area?
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Quoting Grothar:


Got hit on the head with a mango once, sitting under my tree. Can't imagine thousands of those things hitting at once.


Not going to touch that one
Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1936
Quoting PcolaDan:


Hallo Barbamz, Frohe Ostern.

And why are you awake at this hour? lol


Hi, Dan! Easter Night in Germany, that means service in our cathedral til midnight. Afterwards a little celebration, and now: watching tornados in the US. But it's late, late, and I have to go to bed now ...
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This is pretty startling.



Sure hope there's not too much damage tonight....
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22293
Quoting barbamz:


What did you eat, Grothar? -- Greetings from the Easter Night in real Germany - We had boiled eags already ...



Zuricher Geschnetzeltes mit spaetzle und Haxen.
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Hey Grothar, you ever eat at the Old Heidelburg Restaurant on SW 9th and 84(If my memory serves me right).The Paprika Rahm Schnitzel was the best.
Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1936
Quoting barbamz:


What did you eat, Grothar? -- Greetings from the Easter Night in real Germany - We had boiled eags already ...


Hallo Barbamz, Frohe Ostern.

And why are you awake at this hour? lol
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Quoting Grothar:


Food was great, just got tired of standing at attention the whole meal. LOL


LOL Didn't take me long to figure out why the seats by the door were the last to fill. Who knew you became the unofficial greeter! :)
And it was different in Hessen and Bavaria.
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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.