Violent storms rocked the St. Louis metro area Wednesday evening, spawning tornadoes and strong winds that damaged buildings, toppled trees and downed power lines.
Storm damage and power outages have prompted some schools to cancel classes for Thursday.
Shenandoah Valley Elementary School in Chesterfield has canceled class after the storm tore the roof off the building.
All Hazelwood Schools are closed due to power outages. There are also concerns about fallen trees and debris blocking bus routes in the district.
Vianney High School has canceled classes over power issues as well.
Additional school closings will be added to this list if warranted.
Franklin County officials reported damage county-wide. That includes widespread roof and tree damage. Sullivan was one of the hardest hit areas in the county. Several mobile homes were damaged at the Jergenson mobile home park. At least 4 people were injured there, mainly broken bones. Rescue crews have gone door to door, searching for additional victims. The storm struck the 1st Baptist Church in Union during a church service. Worshippers evacuated to a safe area of the church, which lost a large portion of it's roof, but no one was injured.
The cleanup will be long and arduous in Hazelwood after a tornado reportedly touched down their during last night's storms. Strike teams from St. Charles County were called in to assist local authorities about 8:30 p.m. Fire crews from St. Charles and the City of St. Louis were also called in. Ground zero was near Howdershell and Lynn Haven. At least one person became trapped after a tornado tossed a large tree onto a home at Howdershell and Octavia. Several buildings were damaged in that area and police have closed the roads leading into the neighborhood. The good news: There have been no reports of serious injuries in Hazelwood.
Multiple Tornado Warnings were issued for St. Charles County. Projected paths included St. Peters, Cottleville, and St. Charles; 370 Park; and West Alton. Radar also indicated rotation between O’Fallon and Lake St. Louis, as well as in the area near Defiance. Power outages are minimal in St. Charles County, but there are other problems, including road closures. Highway 94 is blocked just east of Portage des Sioux because of downed power poles and wires. A spokesperson for the county says they're not sure when that will be cleared. Also there's water covering Hwy H at Hwy 94. Multiple utility lines down or arcing in Dardenne Prairie, St. Peters, O’Fallon, and unincorporated county. And lightning strikes were reported in Lake St. Louis, Dardenne Prairie, Cottleville, and unincorporated areas.
Damage is also being reported in the Hill neighborhood of South St. Louis. In the 5600 block of Columbia, two homes were heavily damaged. The roof was ripped off one home and strewn across the block, causing additional damage to cars and other homes.
Votes are still being counted in some metro-east elections.
Some of the race results are in: Edwardsville has chosen a new mayor. Hal Patton defeated Barb Stamer in that race. Patton will replace Mayor Gary Niebur, who's led the city since 1992. Mark Eckert will remain Mayor of Belleville, having beaten Jospeph Hayden and Phillip Elmore.
Other contests are still up in the air: In Alton, Mayor Tom Hoechst could possibly lose his seat to write-in candidate Brant Walker but county Clerk Debra Ming-Mendoza said final numbers probably won't be available until Wednesday.
A property tax increase aimed at preventing the sort of cuts made in other districts has failed in O'Fallon. Supporters had asked residents to approve a temporary tax to cover the gap until the state of Illinois paid its share of funding. The tax would have generated about $3 million dollars a year, but it was soundly defeated with 65-percent of voters saying no.
Voter turn out was low, as expected, in most polling places in Tuesday's Consolidated Elections. The Belleville News-Democrat reports that turnout ranged from 13 percent in East St. Louis, to 21 percent in Belleville.