EF-4 Tornado Ravages St. Louis Area
An EF-4 tornado ripped through the suburbs of St. Louis late Friday evening, as part of a line of storms stretching across the midwest that dropped massive hail, caused damaging straight-line winds, spawned several tornadoes, and exacerbated flooding across the Ohio River.
The tornado, which touched down in the northwestern St. Louis suburb of Bridgeton, was rated EF-4 by the National Weather Service with winds between 166 and 200 MPH. Some of the worst damage occurred in and around Bridgeton, where entire housing developments were heavily damaged, with some homes (such as the one below) needing to be rebuilt from the ground up.
Extensive damage to a neighborhood in Bridgeton, MO. Image from NWS St. Louis.
Some of the more heavily-publicized damage occurred at the Lambert St. Louis International Airport, where the tornado blew out the windows and caused damage at several terminals, including extensive roof and jetway damage at Concourse C. In addition to damage to the airport itself, there were numerous cars and object in an adjacent airport parking garage.
See the video at the top of the commentary for a press conference by St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay regarding the damage at Lambert Airport.
Fortunately, despite all the damage and destruction, there were no serious injuries reported from this tornado.
Here's a base velocity radar image from the KLSX NEXRAD station. A base velocity image shows winds moving towards and away from the radar. The radar is to the east of the storm, so in this image, the red shows winds moving towards the radar, and green showing winds moving away from the radar. The brighter the colors, the stronger the winds. When these bright colors are right next to each other, it denotes very strong rotation within a thunderstorm, and a possible tornado. The rotation in this storm is on the top-left of the image, between Maryland Heights and Hazelwood. The EF-4 tornado was on the ground in Brighton right around the time this radar image was taken.