It was a big weekend for graduation ceremonies in the St. Louis area, but Friday night's storms forced several to be moved, postponed or both. The storms downed power lines and damaged the Family Arena in St. Charles where five high schools had been scheduled to hold graduation ceremonies over the weekend.
Francis Howell North, Francis Howell Central and Francis Howell high school combined their separate Saturday ceremonies into one mega-graduation at Lindenwood University on Sunday where more than 390 students received their diplomas.
Mehlville and Oakville high schools had reserved the arena for Sunday and instead moved both commencements to Oakville. And power loss at UMSL forced Hazelwood high schools to move their commencement exercises from Saturday, to Sunday.
Strong storms swept though the metro St. Louis area Friday evening, bringing strong winds, lightning, heavy rain and even some unconfirmed reports of tornadoes.
One metro-east town is heartbroken after the storm did serious damage to a structure with historic and sentimental significance.
Gillespie High School sustained heavy damage in the storms. The concession stand along the athletic fields was wiped out. The roof was peeled back on the building housing the weight room. But most upsetting was the damage to the school's historic gymnasium. The building was heavily damaged in the storm, one brick wall crumbling when part of the roof was ripped away.
The Macoupin County emergency manager is reporting that 25 to 30 homes in the Gillespie area sustained roof damage. Several large trees were knocked down, taking many power lines with them.
Power is out to the entire town of Gillespie and much of the area surrounding the town about 50 miles northeast of St. Louis.
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Waves of violent weather spawning high winds and tornado have torn through the St. Louis area, downing trees and power lines and sending gamblers rushing from a casino floor. There were no immediate, confirmed reports of injuries.
The storms that began pounding the region around 6:30 p.m. prompted numerous tornado warnings, with at least a few confirmed sightings from Montgomery County about 70 miles west of St. Louis into St. Louis County itself. Many homes were damaged in St. Charles County, specifically at Whitmoor Country Club and other nearby subdivisions.
Emergency management officials say the Hollywood Casino in Maryland Heights lost its roof. Investigators did find the building structurally safe. The casino is set to reopen at 8 a.m. Saturday.
Audience members at Friday night's Circus Flora performance were moved from under the big top to the nearby VA shelter during intermission in the city's Grand Center Theater District.