Saturday the airport closed to allow clean-up crews to remove the mess the tornado left behind. Shattered glass and debris litter the area and create a dangerous situation if left alone. The crews have been working hard at cleaning up what the tornado threw around.
The tornado damaged not only the airport, but at least 50 homes and a church steeple as well.
Strong winds and hail the size of softballs trashed the area. Trees and power lines were dangerously knocked down. Flooding closed many roads and highways. At the airport, the main terminal received the most damage. Windows were shattered and blown out and the roof ripped off. “Glass was blowing everywhere. The ceiling was falling. The glass was hitting us in the face. Hail and rain were coming in. The wind was blowing debris all over the place. It was like being in a horror movie. Grown men were crying. It was horrible.” said Dianna Merrill, a mail carrier waiting for a flight to New York.
“We’re fortunate we didn’t have larger (numbers) of injuries,” Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge, who is the airport director, said. There weren’t many injuries and so far no fatalities. Four people were sent to the hospital with minor injuries and others were taken care of by emergency officials at the scene. St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch was at the airport during the storm. He says, “About the time we came into the building, the doors blew off. Literally 10 seconds later, it was over. It’s amazing to me more people weren’t hurt.”
On Friday the governor, Jay Nixon, declared a state of emergency for the area.