Alexandra Pope, staff writer
April 25, 2011 — At least five people were injured when a tornado slammed into the main terminal at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport late Friday night, shattering plate glass windows.
The twister ripped off part of the roof of an airport concourse that housed several major airlines. Passengers were pelted with broken glass and other debris as a wall of windows blew in.
The tornado scattered cars in the parking lot and even lifted a shuttle van onto the roof of a pedestrian walkway.
Passengers had to be evacuated by bus from at least one plane that was preparing for takeoff in the moments before the storm.
The airport was closed for most of the day Saturday as officials inspected the damage and searched for any injured passengers. Most of the airport was re-opened Saturday night, but the damaged concourse will remain closed for up to two months.
The tornado, which was spotted on the ground by airport observers, was one of several that may have touched down during a night of severe storms in Missouri and Oklahoma.
In downtown St. Louis, baseball fans taking in a Cardinals game had to be moved to a safe location in Busch Stadium after tornado sirens sounded. The game resumed hours later.
Several towns around St. Louis reported heavy damage, possibly from tornadoes, and thousands were without power Friday night.
2011 is shaping up to be a record tornado season in the United States. An outbreak in the southeastern U.S earlier this month saw 45 deaths and more than 240 tornado reports over three days.
The destructive streak continue last week, with tornadoes confirmed in Illinois and Missouri.
So far this April over 300 confirmed tornadoes have been reported. That beats the old record of 272 for the entire month of April in 1974.
With files from the Associated Press and Andrea Stockton