The video below is CCTV footage of the moment a tornado ripped through Lambert-St Louis International Airport on Friday night (April 20, 2011), tearing the roof off the airport and causing millions of dollars in damages.
The video was released as forecasters warned people of record numbers of tornadoes across Texas, Arkansas, and the U.S. southeast and midwest. Overall, forecasters are also predicting tornadoes, dangerous thunderstorms, flash flooding and large hail could hit a great swathe of the country stretching from the southern Plains to the Ohio Valley over the coming three days.
Watch for a darkness on the video, beginning around 15 seconds. The picture brightens again at about 30 seconds.
Potential tornado-spawning storms are predicted to stretch from Oklahoma and northern Texas up to Pennsylvania tonight and tomorrow, an area which includes the cities of Dallas, Pittsburgh and St. Louis. The National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm warning for south-west Arkansas, north-west Louisiana and south-east Oklahoma today, predicting hail up to two inches in diameter, wind gusts up to 70mph and dangerous lightning. Southern Missouri and much of Arkansas are also expected to see storms this afternoon and into tonight.
Tomorrow, the band of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes will move east, extending from western New York to north-eastern Texas, including the Ohio and Tennessee Valleys.
On Wednesday, forecasters predict a new wave of dangerous thunderstorms will develop from the southern Ohio Valley and parts of the mid-Atlantic region to the Deep South, spreading to the eastern seaboard by the evening.
The National Weather Service has issued flash flood warnings along the expected paths of this week’s storms.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.