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Evacuees will arrive in STL on Monday

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Commander Bob Leeker of the 131st Missouri Air National Guard (left) gives Gov. Matt Blunt a tour of the former Boeing hanger that's been converted into a evacuation center at Lambert Airport. (UPI photo/Bill Greenblatt)

By AP/KWMU

St. Louis, MO – Federal officials have told leaders in the state of Missouri to expect as many as 500 hurricane evacuees in St. Louis on Monday.

All evacuees will first go to an old hanger at Lambert Airport that's been converted to temporary housing. Missouri Governor Matt Blunt toured the facility Thursday. He said afterwards he wasn't sure if more evacuees would follow.

State estimates put the number of displaced Gulf Coast residents who have traveled to Missouri on their own at 5,100. They've been seeking services at American Red Cross centers, churches and other organizations.

But the Red Cross also says that it alone had served more than 5,800 people as of Thursday, which nearly all having come to Missouri because of family and friend connections.

Nearly 175 evacuees are already getting care in Alton. They arrived Wednesday night at Mid-America Airport.

CAMPING BREAKS

Meanwhile, evacuees from the Gulf Coast area can go camping for free in Missouri.

The state announced Friday morning that it will offer all basic campsites for free and offer discounts for cabins and motel rooms in state parks. The state will also lift its 15-day limit on staying in campgrounds for evacuees.

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