Severe weather in the St. Louis area diverted at least eight airplanes to the Cape Girardeau Regional Airport to wait out the storm Thursday night. The day before, two or three planes spent an hour or so until the storms blew over.
Cape Girardeau firefighters were called to stand by while the airplanes landed as required by the Federal Aviation Administration. The aircraft ranged in size from 20-passenger planes to as large as 60-passenger planes, some of them jet-props.
Battalion chief Tom Hinkebein said that the airport is one of three where pilots can land until it's again safe to fly into St. Louis. The airport in Springfield, Mo., is one; another airport is near Carbondale in Southern Illinois. Some pilots, especially those in the larger planes, sometimes opt to circle the airport above the storm until it's safe to land, he said.