Students caught in storm near collapsed tent at Cardinals game
Strong winds blew over a tent at a beer garden downtown, killing one and injuring about 100 during a tornado warning Saturday afternoon.
The tent was set up behind Kilroy’s Sports Bar as customers celebrated the Cardinals’ 7-3 win over the Milwaukee Brewers. The first wave of the storm hit at around 3:50 p.m., about an hour after the game ended.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, witnesses at Kilroy’s saw the wind lift up the tent and send poles and chairs flying.
The incident happened in the midst of a series of storms that hit the St. Louis area. The National Weather Service reported that the strongest winds, which knocked over the tent, reached 42 mph.
A second wave of thunderstorms bombarded the area around 6 p.m., dropping baseball-sized hail and forcing students on campus to seek shelter in basements.
Several students who attended the game were caught in transit when the rain and winds hit.
Sophomores Bryce Caster, Andi Hibbert and Matt Lauer had driven to the game and were on Market Street headed back to campus when the storm began.
“When I first looked off into the distance, it was scary to say the least. It was starting to get dark, almost like night but it was before 4 p.m.,” Lauer, who was driving at the time, said. “When it started raining, it didn’t seem that bad at first until it started coming in strong waves that were so bad that we couldn’t see anything.”
To Caster, it seemed like the bad weather kind of came out of nowhere.
“During the game, the weather was fantastic. It was like 80 degrees and sunny, perfect ballgame weather,” Caster said. “When we were coming back from the game, the weather took a sudden turn. It was so bad at one point that we just stopped on the road and hoped for the best.”
Caster said that the group saw a bird that was trying to fly get blown into a lamp post on the side of the road while they were pulled over.
“In terms of the force with which it came down, I had never seen anything like it before,” Lauer said. “It is not hard to imagine how that force killed someone.”