An apparent tornado took a direct hit on Lambert-St. Louis International Airport last night causing heavy damage and closing the airport. The good news is that only five people were hurt and none of the injuries were life threatening.
Lambert-St. Louis International Airport took a direct hit. Windows were blown out of the terminal. Part of the terminal roof was compromised and the airport is completely closed indefinitely at this point. There were more than a thousand people inside the terminal when the storm hit and it’s miracle that only five injuries were reported. And those injuries were not considered to be life threatening. It’s also absolutely stunning that no planes parked at gates were hit. One plane on a taxi way was spun around several feet, according to passengers. Bottom line here is that other than damage, this could have been much, much worse.
If you have travel plans to St. Louis today you’ll have to make other arrangements. One possibility is to fly into the Kansas City Airport, rent a car and complete your journey to St. Louis. But then again, everybody else will probably have the same idea so it may be difficult to get into K.C. and rental cars may be scarce.
For years, TWA was the 800 pound gorilla at Lambert before its sad demise. But when American Airlines purchased TWA, they took over major hub honors. Southwest actually has the biggest hub operation in St. Louis. Several American and Southwest jets were trapped on the ground at Lambert. Before they can be cleared to return to service they must be thoroughly inspected to make sure there was no damage and that no debris has been propelled into the engines. So if you’re booked on an American or Southwest flight out of Detroit Metro Airport, check with your airline website to make sure your flight is on schedule.
The last time the St. Louis airport was completely closed was in 1982 when a mega blizzard struck. With 12.3 million passengers using the airport each year, Lambert is the 30th busiest airport in the U.S.
Many neighborhoods in the St. Louis area were also devastated. As I write this update they were still trying to get firm casualty figures.