Straight-line winds on Wednesday evening destroyed a portion of a hangar at Vandalia Municipal Airport, according to National Weather Service Meteorologist Melissa Byrd in St. Charles, Missouri.
“At this time it is looking like straight line wind damage,” Byrd said of the storm that struck the airport at about 6:45 p.m. “It was a downburst that hit that area."
Vandalia Airport Manager Chad Feldpouch was standing in front of his hangar and jumped in his truck as he watched a portion of a hangar that housed multiple aircraft lift completely off its foundation, smashing it into another hangar and flipping a Piper Colt aircraft.
The north end of the structure was sheered off, sending twisted sheet metal east to be stopped by a newer multiple-aircraft hangar.
“We were unloading a truck and it started pouring pretty hard,” Feldpouch said. “And the power started flickering so I pulled the truck out (of the hangar) because I wanted to pull the door down.”
“I was trying to get the door shut, the power flickered several times and then all of a sudden you could see it,” Feldpouch said. “There was rotation.”
Feldpouch said the rain was coming down so hard it was close to zero visability.
“It just picked it up,” Feldpouch said about the damaged hangar. “The wind was just blowing really hard.”
According to Feldpouch, there was no power at the airport after the storm passed through and was concerned about getting the airport's runway lights back on. According to a Southwestern Electric Cooperative media release, 166 customers lost power in Fayette county due to high winds and lightning bringing down eight power poles fed by the Shafter Substation north of Vandalia at around 6:45 p.m.
Feldpouch said after the hangar was partially destroyed he traveled to his home located close to the airport to see if his property received any damage. He could see a trail of damage from southwest heading northeast to the airport with several power lines down.
“You could see treetops peeled off and you can actually see the line where it tracked,” Feldpouch said.
Charles Mills can be reached at email@example.com or by phone at 217-347-7151 ext. 126.