St. Louis Airport To Reopen After Tornado Damage

The airport in St. Louis was set to reopen to some arriving flights late on Saturday after being raked by a tornado that also battered homes and cars and knocked out power in the Midwestern U.S. city.

Authorities closed Lambert-St. Louis International Airport after the tornado ripped through the area on Friday night, blowing out terminal windows and tearing holes in the roof, scattering debris and damaging at least one plane.

Airlines affected by the shutdown included Delta Air Lines (DAL.N), Southwest Airlines (LUV.N) and AMR Corp's (AMR.N) American Airlines. At least a thousand workers were deployed to put things back in order and the airport was ready for up to nine arriving flights on Saturday night, officials said.

Airport director Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge said the facility would officially reopen on Sunday with departing flights expected to resume.

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency and released state funds to help in the clean-up.

"It's just amazing that an F-4 tornado could come through a highly populated area with no fatalities. People got a 34-minute warning and that warning saved countless lives," he told reporters, referring to a tornado intensity category.

Some housing subdivisions were leveled by the tornado. Roofs were blown off, trees smashed into houses, cars flipped over, trucks blown off highways and windows shattered.

At least 750 homes sustained damage, with under 100 destroyed, Nixon said. Injuries but no deaths were reported.