Good friday tornado - Storm, Lightning
Storm Data and Unusual Weather Phenomena - April 2011
During the evening of Friday April 22nd, an intense supercell thunderstorm produced a long-track tornado which tore a path of destruction from west to
east across the St. Louis Metropolitan Area, from St. Louis County Missouri eastward across the Mississippi River into Madison County Illinois. The tornado
reached a maximum intensity of EF4 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale as it tracked through the community of Bridgeton, just west of Lambert St. Louis
International Airport, in St. Louis County. The total path length was 21.3 miles, with a width of up to half a mile.
The tornado initially touched down along the northern edge of Creve Coeur Lake at approximately 759 pm. It tracked nearly due east at about 40 mph, and
intensified as it entered Maryland Heights. There it produced up to EF3 damage to many homes and businesses with a damage swath of 200 to 400 yards
wide. Damage continued eastward in an unbroken track, crossing I-270 about 1 mile south of I-70. The tornado reached peak intensity of EF4 as it
devastated the community of Bridgeton along Old St. Charles Road. From there the tornado paralleled Interstate 70 through the community of St. Ann, and
then took aim directly on Lambert-St. Louis International Airport. Many of the large windows in the main terminal building were blown out or damaged by
flying debris and a large section of roof was peeled from Concourse C. Although the vast majority of people were evacuated to lower levels and to interior
rooms before the tornado hit, five people were treated and released from area hospitals for injuries due to flying debris. The airport was closed due to the
extensive damage. Damage at the airport was estimated to be around $30 million.
The tornado exited Lambert-St. Louis International Airport crossing near the McDonnell Boulevard/Harmon Lane intersection. It then moved into Berkeley
where it crossed Interstate 170 between Airport Road and Scudder Avenue. Extensive damage was noted along Fourth Avenue, especially at the Garfield
Avenue and Hancock Avenue intersections where a vacant house and several homes lost their entire roof structure. The greatest damage in this
neighborhood was rated EF2. The tornado continued to the northeast through neighborhoods south of Airport Road producing significant tree damage
including many large trees falling on homes. The tornado then crossed Airport Road near Abston Street. The tornado crossed North Florissant Road where
it caused extensive roof damage to the Newger Materials building and the First Baptist Church of Ferguson. Across the road, a Little Caesars Restaurant
lost its entire roof. Damage to these structures was rated EF1. The tornado then continued through neighborhoods along and just the north of Hereford
Avenue/Chambers Road where it continued to cause extensive tree damage as well as additional partial roof damage to homes along the path toward West
Florissant Road. Also along this part of its path, it partially removed the roof at the Griffith Elementary School which was rated as EF1. This is also where
the tornado widened to one quarter of a mile with damage noted to trees and some homes on both sides of Chambers Road. Along the entire path from
Berkeley to Dellwood, damage varied in intensity from EF1 to low end EF2 with a maximum estimated wind speed of 120 mph, and included numerous
snapped power poles in addition to the extensive number of snapped and downed trees.
EF2 damage was uncovered at three different locations east of Dellwood. One area was located one quarter mile south of Chambers Road on Halls Ferry
Road where four large utility poles were snapped. The second area of EF2 damage was located a quarter of a mile south of Chambers Road along
Bellefontaine Road where significant tree damage occurred. The last area of damage was located in Bellefontaine Neighbors just south of Chambers Road
on La Roux Court. Roofs were removed from three homes at this location, while other homes sustained varying degrees of damage. The width of the
damage area varies from 100 yards to four tenths of a mile with the widest area of damage east of Halls Ferry and south of Chambers Road.
The tornadic damage continued as the tornado traveled eastward south of Chambers road, crossing the Mississippi River into Madison County Illinois,
approximately 2 miles south of Interstate 270. The majority of the damage in this area was rated EF1 due to fallen trees. Some of these trees fell on homes
while a few others fell through homes causing damage not directly relating to the intensity of the wind within the tornado.
Overall, in St. Louis County, 233 structures (homes and businesses) sustained major damage, 776 structures sustained moderate damage, and 1,487