Ameren crews continue to work around the clock to restore power to those affected by Friday night's storms.
The EF-3 tornado carved a 32 mile path of destruction from Weldon Spring to Ferguson and tore down over 200 poles critical to supplying electricity to tens of thousands of customers. Ameren's Michael Moehn says replacing the 70 foot poles is extremely labor intensive.
"This is what we would call sub-transmission lines," Moehn said. "So the way it works is, we have to get this installed first because this feeds substations which then feed neighborhoods. So what we have to do is come in and disconnect everything from the existing poles, and then reset the new pole, and reconnect everything."
Moehn urges anyone who sees a downed pole or power line to stay away from it and call Ameren immediately. (1-800-552-7583)
Moehn says about 90,000 customers were left in the dark from Friday's storms.
He says it is one of the top wind-damaging outbreaks in recent memory. "This certainly ranks up there with the top two or three in the past six or seven years. Again, the amount of sub-transmission with these really high poles, that kind of damage is significant."
Moehn expects most customers will have power restored by later today, although some may have to wait until tomorrow. As of 6:00 a.m. today, 36,000 electric customers in St. Charles and St. Louis Counties were still without power. Another 1,000 customers in Madison County were still in the dark.
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.
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — The University of Missouri Press is back in the business of publishing scholarly books after a year of uncertainty.
A public uproar ensued in May 2012 when university administrators disclosed plans to shutter the academic press. By the end of the summer, the University of Missouri system had backtracked on those plans and tried to repair the damage to its image.
The press recently released its fall/winter catalog with 10 new books and 15 electronic books. The publishing house is now part of the flagship Columbia campus rather than the university system, and a search for a new director continues.
Press supporters say they hope the threat to its survival will allow the business to prosper even as modern technology poses continual challenges.
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Tasked with urgently warning their region when violent weather is imminent, the National Weather Service crew in suburban St. Louis isn't immune from having to scramble for its own safety.
During severe storms that thundered into the area on Friday night, meteorologists noticed a storm system's tight rotation perilously close to their office in Weldon Spring, west of St. Louis.
Forty-six-year-old meteorologist Mark Britt says he and about 10 others bolted for a copy room with reinforced walls and hunkered down. That was only after they called upon their Kansas City colleagues to monitor the storm and issue any public warnings for eastern Missouri.
Britt says it's the first time during his office's nearly quarter century in Weldon Spring that they've had to scurry for cover.
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The National Weather Service confirms that at least one tornado barreled Friday night through portions of the St. Louis area as part of a storm that damaged dozens of homes but caused no serious injuries.
The weather service's Jayson Gosselin says the twister that hit portions of St. Charles County was an EF-3, which packed winds up to 165 miles per hour. A tornado of that magnitude also has been confirmed to have affected the Roxana area in Illinois' Madison County, northeast of St. Louis.
Gosselin says crews are trying to determine if damage in St. Louis County was also from a tornado.
Governor Jay Nixon has declared a state of emergency.
Ameren says over 50,000 homes are without power as of Sunday morning.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - An exhibit of drawings of fallen Illinois soldiers on display in Springfield has been extended for another month.
The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum announced Friday the "Portrait of a Soldier" exhibit will remain open until after July 4. The display originally was scheduled to close Friday.
The new closing date will give more visitors a chance to see the traveling display of hand-drawn portraits of Illinois soldiers killed since Sept. 11, 2001.
Artist Cameron Schilling of Mattoon has drawn all the portraits. He began drawing them in August 2004.
Gov. Pat Quinn says the exhibit honors Illinois heroes. The free exhibit is at the library portion of the museum campus.
QUINCY, Ill. (AP) - A Missouri mother caught stuffing cocaine, heroin and marijuana into her 4-year-old son's coat pocket during her Illinois arrest for shoplifting expected to get probation for the offense. But a judge wasn't so forgiving about her parenting.
The Quincy Herald-Whig reports that 28-year-old Jennifer Shurtleff of Hannibal was been sentenced in western Illinois' Adams County to four years in prison.
Shurtleff pleaded guilty heroin possession, retail theft and child endangerment charges stemming from her December arrest at a Kmart in Quincy.
The county's probation department recommended probation for Shurtleff. But Judge Scott Walden says he couldn't go with that because she involved her son.
The judge said prison time could be a potential deterrent to parents "exposing children to the horrors of drugs."
Damage to the St. Charles Family Arena by Friday night's severe weather prompted Francis Howell School District officials to to cancel all three of its high school graduation ceremonies for today (Saturday).
Colene McEntee, a spokesperson for the St. Charles County government, said the Family Arena has a big hole in the roof on the street side and lots of water pouring into the concourse.
As of midnight Friday, damage was confined to a 10 sq mile area between Caulks Hill and Pitman Hill Road. Trees and power lines were down.
Several homes at Whitmoor Country Club in Weldon Spring suffered structural damage along with homes in Cambridge Crossing and Camelot and Haversham subdivisions.
Due to extensive storm damage, MetroBus currently is not able to serve the #34 Earth City route.
Two MetroBus routes are impacted by flooding at this time:
#75 Lilac Hanley
The following MetroBus routes in North St. Louis County are still impacted by power lines and trees down in the roadways.
#35 Rock Road
#36 Spanish Lake
#45 Ferguson Florissant
#75 Lilac Hanley
There are still service disruptions, delays and multiple reroutes on several of these routes.
MetroLink is on time. There are no delays. Trains are running on schedule. Metro Call-A-Ride is operating normal service.
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.