The severe storm that struck Franklin County Wednesday night produced no tornados but did spawn damaging winds of up to 100 mph, downed trees and utility poles, damaged buildings and knocked out electrical power to thousands of customers in Franklin County.
A barn and mobile home in the area were destroyed by the fast-moving storm.
The most damage during the storm occurred in the Sullivan, Union and Villa Ridge areas.
A three-quarter mile swath of broken power poles along Old Highway 100 in the Villa Ridge area was the biggest problem area for Ameren Missouri after the storm. The National Weather Service estimates that winds in this area reached 90 mph.
On Friday morning, 2,106 customers were still without power, including St. John the Baptist Gildehaus school in Villa Ridge.
Ameren reported that 16 power poles were broken along Old Highway 100 east of Highway T, said Mark Nealon, director of Ameren’s Meramec Valley Division.
Resetting the power poles proved to be a complicated construction situation for crews, Nealon said. He noted that while the poles were broken, the conductors were still operational.
The power poles were still in the ground but leaning, he added. About 30 linemen were working the scene Thursday.
During the peak of outages in Franklin County, about 8,000 customers were without power.
Ameren reminds people to be careful by staying away from downed power lines. Downed lines should be reported by calling 1-800-552-7583 or 911.
Five injuries from the storm were reported, according to Franklin County Emergency Management.
Emergency Management Director Abe Cook said the injuries occurred in the Sullivan area, and three of the people were transported to the hospital by ambulance and two transported themselves.
Cook would not discuss the nature of the injuries because of medical privacy matters but said they were minor.
The Salvation Army put a couple of people in hotel rooms for the night. This could have been because the residents could not get access to their homes, he said. The Red Cross also assisted in some areas, he said.
Preliminary reports from the National Weather Service indicated that several microbursts occurred along the storm’s path in the Sullivan area. This caused narrow swaths of significant straight-line wind damage.
The first microburst occurred about three miles east-northeast of Bourbon, bringing 100 mph winds that destroyed a barn, heavily damaged a garage and uprooted four large trees.
Meramec State Park also had extensive tree damage.
A microburst also hit Sullivan, destroying a mobile home with 100 mph winds. Other nearby mobile homes also were damaged in varying degrees.
Numerous billboards were also damaged along a five-mile stretch of Interstate 44 from just northeast of St. Cloud to just northeast of Pacific.
The storm produced winds of 40 to 60 mph along the I-44 corridor from just northeast of Cuba to around Pacific.
It appears a microburst with estimated 70 mph winds also hit the First Baptist Church in Union, peeling off most of the building’s metal roof.
A second microburst hit the intersection of St. John’s Road and State Highway V, going through Wolf Hollow Golf Club to Highway 100. The estimated 80 mph winds caused significant tree damage.
The final microburst was in the Villa Ridge area where the Ameren power poles were snapped along the stretch of Old Highway 100 Between Highway T and Mary Lane.
Water District Lost Power
Public Water District No. 3 regained electricity around noon Thursday after losing power during the storm.
The power outage affected the three wells that serve approximately 1,500 customers in the Villa Ridge area, said Bob Hathcock, the water district’s operations manager. The wells pump water to the water tower.
No one went without water during the outage, Hathcock said, noting that officials were hooking up a generator when Ameren restored electricity.
Hathcock said the storm blew down one of the water district’s radio antennas in the St. Albans area. The 75-foot tower was used to control wells in that area, Hathcock said, noting that it will have to be replaced.
It could cost around $5,000, but he said the district has insurance.
In the meantime, two other wells in that area can be used so normal water service can continue, he said.
Beware of Spoiled Food
Food service establishments that lost power in the Wednesday storm should contact the Franklin County Health Department to ensure that no spoilage of products occurred, an official says.
The number to call is 636-583-7309.
The county health department has 500 establishments that it inspects, said Tony Buel, epidemiology specialist.
Residents also can contact the health department if they have questions about the safety of their food after a power outage, Buel said.
Missourian Sports Editor Bill Battle contributed to this report.