Storms batter St. Louis region; half million lose power
By Tom Weber, Kevin Lavery & Robert Frederick, KWMU / AP
St. Louis, MO – Last night's violent weather is being called the worst to hit the St. Louis area in recent history, but the concern today is that the heat will be back.
Ameren says more than 450,000 customers in the St. Louis region are without power this morning after last night's storms; service to about 100,000 had been restored throughout the night.
It's still not known if any of the storms produced tornadoes, but winds reaching 80 miles an hour did plenty of damage.
Ameren says it's the most damaging storm in company's 100-year history, and its biggest power outage ever.
St. Louis Police Chief Joe Mokwa says the biggest concern is keeping the thousands of people without power cool. He says only 4 of the city's 14 cooling centers are working right now because the others are without power, and that the city is calling other groups like the St. Louis Archdiocese to see if church could be kept open later.
People also can call 1-800-427-4626... for information on which cooling centers near them are functioning.
Some injuries were reported... including from a building collapse in south City... but no one is known at this time to have died in the storm. Many side roads are impassible because of fallen trees and power lines.
A number of bridges were blocked last night, and windows blew out at the restaurant atop the Millennium Hotel downtown.
They also blew out in the press box of Busch Stadium, where 30 people were injured during a rain delay. Five people at Busch were taken to the hospital.
Elsewhere... a section of roof was ripped off Lambert Airport and fell on nearby I-70.
And Metrolink was down for a while last night but trains are up and running this morning. Also... the Logan College of Chiropractic is closed today because of power outage.