State Of Emergency in St. Louis

5:56 PM, Jul 20, 2006   |    comments
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( - St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay says he has asked Missouri Governor Matt Blunt to call in the National Guard and declare a "State of Emergency." Storms tore through the St. Louis area Wednesday night, causing damage, accidents and power outages. The storms came from the northeast, heading in a southwest direction. At one point during the storms, more than 500,000 people were without power throughout Missouri and Illinois. The company has restored service to more than 100,000. As of Thursday afternoon, more than 360,000 people did not have electricity in the St. Louis region. Power outages were reported as far north as the Iowa-Illinois border. The company says given the nature of the damage, it cannot offer customers anticipated restoration times. The main terminal at Lambert St. Louis-International Airport lost power but power was soon restored. The power outage caused flights to be cancelled and left passengers stranded in St. Louis overnight. Hotels in the area are booked. As a result, many passengers were left with no choice but to spend the night at the airport. A section of airport roof about 60 feet long forced the closure of lanes on I-70 after it landed on the roadway. Three buildings in St. Louis city had partially collapsed, including the former Switzer Candy building which fell onto the Eads Bridge. Three people were injured when part of a building collapsed in the 1800 block of Sydney. The St. Louis City Police Department said a pregnant female suffered a broken leg, a man suffered a broken back and another man sustained a leg injury. There was at least one report of a tornado sighting near Jefferson Barracks and there were several accidents, many of which involved tractor trailers that were turned over by high winds. At least three tractor trailers were blown over at the Chain of Rocks Bridge, and traffic was virtually stopped there. There were reports of accidents at the Discovery Bridge on Highway 370. In St. Louis, construction debris was thrown all around the Poplar Street Bridge. Alton Memorial Hospital in Illinois was operating backup power and part of a roof was blown off Sumner High School in St. Louis. The city's light rail system, down for several hours, was running again by the Thursday morning rush hour, but at least 450,000 customers were still without power, according to utility company AmerenUE. "This is one of the worst storms we can all remember to hit the city of St. Louis in recent years," St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay said. It could take three to five days to fully restore power to St. Louis, officials with AmerenUE said Thursday morning. The storms also brought heavy rain, hail and 80 mph winds to Illinois Wednesday night, and roughly 120,000 homes and businesses were without power Thursday. Three people were injured in St. Louis when a residential building collapsed in a neighborhood south of downtown, said Police Chief Joe Mokwa. The historic Switzer building near the Mississippi River also partially collapsed, and Mokwa said the department was still dealing with a backlog of emergency calls. Many of the injuries were to baseball fans waiting for a St. Louis Cardinals-Atlanta Braves game at the new Busch Stadium. Winds near 80 mph blew out press box windows and ripped the tarp, injuring at least 30 people, five of whom were taken to hospitals, said Norm Corley, a supervisor with Accu-Care, which handles medical issues at the stadium. Downed power lines were everywhere as utility crews worked on repairs. The loss of electricity to power air-conditioning raised fears for the health of residents, particularly the elderly. A brutal heat wave has settled over the region and high Thursday was expected to reach 103 degrees. By midmorning, the temperature was 90.

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