A swath of broken power poles along Old Highway 100 in Franklin County was the biggest problem area for Ameren Missouri after Wednesday’s severe storm.

Mark Nealon, director of Ameren’s Meramec Valley Division, said 4,200 customers were still without power in Franklin County Thursday afternoon.

The vast majority of those customers are connected to the 16 power poles that were broken along Old Highway 100 just south of Highway T.

Power is not expected to be restored until Friday morning for those customers.

Based on how the poles looked, it appears that there was a period of sustained straight-line winds in that area. A tornado was not confirmed as the cause of damage.

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, he said.

During the peak of outages in Franklin County, about 8,000 customers were without power.

“We are making progress and will continue to work diligently throughout the day to restore power to our customers who have been impacted,” said Michael Moehn, senior vice president of customer operations at Ameren Missouri. “As we continue with restoration efforts, our primary concern is the safety of customers and crew members in the field.”

Ameren reminds people to be careful by staying away from downed power lines. Downed power lines should be reported by calling 1-800-552-7583 or 911.

People should assume that all downed power lines are energized. Stay away from brush, shrubs and downed trees that could hide power lines.

Company officials ask curious bystanders to avoid the hardest hit areas so crew members can focus on restoration efforts.