Ten years later: Residents heeded warnings as Good Friday Tornado stormed across St. Louis County

ST. LOUIS – It’s one of the most memorable nights in St. Louis weather history. Ten years ago, on April 22, 2011, the Good Friday tornado hit the suburb of St. Louis with winds reaching 165 miles per hour at its peak.

The tornado landed near Creve Coeur Lake and set up homes and businesses in Maryland Heights and Bridgeton before targeting Lambert Airport, where it turned cars upside down, damaged planes, and made a hole in the roof of Concourse C. tore 21 miles and 2,700 structures damaged, only two dozen injuries were reported and no one was killed.

“The whole process worked from the ground up. From us in the warning process. For you in the media, getting the message out, going live and helping people understand that this is not a normal situation and taking protective measures is a huge threat. And people have taken protective measures, ”said Fred Glass, a senior meteorologist with the St. Louis bureau of the National Weather Service.

The Good Friday tornado, together with the Joplin tornado a month later and other tornado outbreaks in the south, led the National Weather Service to issue so-called effects-based warnings. Now forecasters are trying to provide additional information about the damage a storm can cause for media and emergency managers in order to get the public to act faster in the face of severe weather. The fact that no one was killed on April 22, 2011 is often related to the fact that people heard and heeded the warnings.

After the storm, Lambert Airport worked with the National Weather Service to improve preparation for the storm. Toilets are now clearly marked as tornado safety rooms and announce severe weather warnings earlier with recorded statements that are available at the push of a button.

“It takes away an employee who is already taxed to deal with other problems, the fear and anxiety to bring these announcements live,” said airport director Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge.

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