Weekend Storms Cause Costly Damage To STL

June 03--ST. LOUIS --The storms that tore through the St. Louis area over the weekend ripped off roofs and caused extensive costly damage at Lambert -- St. Louis International Airport, to two large aircraft hangars, three out buildings and a parking lot, airport officials said Sunday night.

Some buildings have large gaping holes where the roof used to be and the buildings sustained other major damage, said Jeff Lea, airport spokesman. At least two of the buildings -- the hangars on the north side of the airport -- are unsafe to use.

No injuries were reported. Neither of the two passenger terminals sustained major damage this time, as in the tornado of April 22, 2011. That time the damage to Terminal 1, the original terminal, took months to repair and airport-wide the damage cost $25 million, nearly all paid by Lambert's insurer.

It's unclear whether the damage this time was from straight-line winds or a tornado, airport officials said. The damage reports Sunday night follow inspections over the weekend by airport engineers, consultant and contractors. No confirmed cost estimates were available.

Despite the damage, the heralded high-tech Solar Impulse plane will arrive Monday night as scheduled but it will be unable to use the hangar where it was to park. Instead, it will be parked in a mobile hangar and later will move to another part of the property for public showing. Events will be announced later this week.

The buildings most affected are:

  • The airport-owned large aircraft hangar known as Building 2 -- the former McDonnell-Douglas Co. hangar on the north side of the airport property. Large parts of the roof are gone. The walls and rest of the structure appear to be intact. This hangar been planned for the Solar Impulse exhibit but is now too unsafe to be occupied, Lea said.
  • The ATS Jet Center, which is the aircraft hangar immediately to the west of Building 2. It also sustained extensive roof damage and a part of the roof is torn off. Portions of the hangar, leased by Airport Terminal Services (ATS) and Trans States Airlines, also can no longer be occupied.
  • The Airfield Maintenance and Auto Shop complex sustained extensive damage to its roof. This building is on the west side of Terminal 1, on the I-70 side of the airport. Parts of the roof were ripped off. Bay doors used for the auto shop were damaged or have collapsed. Many vehicles both in the shop at the time or parked outside were wrecked.
  • The Airport's Materials Management warehouse in the same general area also sustained serious roof damage. That warehouse is used for storage for all airport parts, equipment and operational supplies.
  • The garage facility, also west of Terminal 1, that's now used by the airport for emergency response equipment.

In addition, the storms damaged the remote parking lot, Super Park Lot C.

The airport's assessment will continue this week, Lea said. The airport's insurer also intends to send out its inspectors this week.

Airport officials also are working with tenants so they can continue to operate, a spokesman said.

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