Fri May 31, 2013
St. Louis Area Recovering From Severe Storms
Updated 3:08 p.m. May 3:
- Latest power outage information:
Updated at 9:15 a.m. on Monday
More than 36,000 Ameren Missouri customers remain without power, three days after strong storms and tornados struck the St. Louis area. Most of the outages are in north St. Louis county.
Ameren hope to have power restored to almost all customer by Tuesday morning.
Updated at 6:38 p.m. on Sunday
More than 47,000 Ameren Missouri and about 4,575 Ameren Illinois customers remain without power.
Ameren Missouri officials said extensive infrastructure damage, primarily downed power poles, has slowed efforts to restore power in St. Louis and St. Charles County.
“Progress has been steady but restoration speed has been hampered by the need to first fix more than a hundred poles that feed power to our substations. We have to get those substations energized again and then we can then fix the poles and wires in residential areas,” Michael Moehn, senior vice president of Ameren Missouri Customer Operations, said in a statement issued Saturday evening. “Our priority is to work as quickly and safely as possible to restore power to our customers.”
Storm debris and downed power continue to impact some bus routes in north St. Louis County and Maryland Heights.
Below is a list of routes that remain affected by the storm.
- #27 North County Shuttle
- #36 Spanish Lake
- #75 Lilac Hanley
A tornado has been confirmed to have affected the Roxana area in Illinois' Madison County, northeast of St. Louis.
As of Saturday afternoon, The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) said it was monitoring numerous intersections in and near Maryland Heights and Hazelwood area that are without power and functioning traffic signals.
The National Weather Service also confirmed that at least one tornado barreled Friday night through portions of St. Charles County, where officials say more than 200 homes and businesses were damaged by the storm. That number could rise, officials said, as they continue to assess the damages and it may take weeks to gauge the dollar value of the storm's impact.
Both tornadoes were classified as EF3 and had wind speeds between 136 and 165 mph. Later, a third tornado, classified as an EF2, was confirmed in Macoupin County. It caused damage, including a collapsed gymnasium roof at a Gillespie high school.
Officials say most of the damage in St. Charles County is concentrated near the Harvester and Weldon Spring areas, and Family Arena was seriously damaged.
Resident Ahmad Mian said he was driving home when his home was ripped apart by severe weather.
“All our fence is gone, the chimney, the roof,” Mian said, “It was pretty frightening.”
Cottleville Fire Protection District Chief, Rob Wylie, said it’s “miraculous” that no one was seriously injured or killed.
“As I went through there and I saw the damage patterns start to change from storm debris to structural components and interior furniture, I was positive that we were going to have at least injuries, serious injuries, if not fatalities,” Wylie says. “Then when we started to see the structures themselves, I didn’t know how you could avoid it, I didn’t know how there couldn’t be, but there wasn’t.”
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has declared a state of emergency and toured a section of St. Charles County hit hard by the storm. Nixon confirmed that there were three deaths in Missouri caused by flooding and high waters brought on by heavy rains.
“The fact that the deaths that we’ve had in Missouri so far from this storm have all been drownings should amplify for people to not drive into moving streams,” Nixon said.
The Missouri Department of Transportation is preparing to close Route 47 near Washington due to high water and the Mississippi River is expected to crest in St. Louis at “major flood stage” on Tuesday.
As of late Saturday afternoon 79,800 Ameren Missouri customers and 9,184 Ameren Illinois customers were without power.
Earlier live blog below. Blog no longer active: