Storms rip roof off Warrenton school, cause damage throughout St. Louis area | State News

“It could have been worse. I’ve lost everything before,” said Ted Behrhorst, 63, as he and some neighbors have a beer outside his home that was hit by falling branches from a tree on the 6400 block of Sutherland Ave. in St. Louis on Thursday, August 12, 2021. This is the second time in about a month that Behrhorst’s home has been hit by limbs from the same tree. Residents on the street have been complaining to the city for years that some old trees need to be removed, but no action has been taken.

Video by David Carson,

UPDATED at 6:40am Friday with additional details on gusts, outages

Storms tore through the St. Louis area on Thursday night, knocking down trees and utility lines, cutting power and ripping the roof off an elementary school and homes in Warrenton.

The National Weather Service said a cluster of storms in north central Missouri began in the late afternoon and reached the St. Louis area between 5:30 PM and 7:30 PM, earlier than forecasters had expected.

The storms brought gusts of 107 mph at Cahokia, 103 mph at Wentzville and 58 mph at St. Louis Lambert International Airport.

Fred Glass, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Weldon Spring, said other parts of the region could have seen gusts of 70 mph. He said there were no tornadoes.

There were also no reports of injuries.

More than 80,000 Ameren customers in Missouri were without power Thursday night, while at least 14,000 in Illinois were without power. By Friday morning, malfunctions had fallen to about 36,000 in Missouri and 4,600 in Illinois. The City of Kirkwood’s public utility had hundreds without power after the storm, but the exact count was not available.

Friday brings storm clearing – and the possibility of more thunderstorms. Forecasters said there is a chance of scattered showers and thunderstorms, mainly Friday between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m., with a high of nearly 86 degrees.

The Warrenton Fire Protection District responded to a report of a roof collapse about 6 p.m. Thursday at Daniel Boone Elementary School on Vosholl Avenue in Warrenton.

Department Captain Matt Dabbs said a large portion of the roof over the library and office had been torn away. There were janitors in the building, but no one was injured, he said.

The school wouldn’t open until August 24, Dabbs said, or the situation could have been much worse.

“It came out of nowhere,” Dabbs said of the storm breaking through in the early evening. “We saw it come in, but it grew faster than we thought.”

The department received at least 25 calls in about 30 minutes, he said. Several power lines were down throughout the area and roofs of several houses were damaged, but there were no reports of injuries.

“We’ve been inundated with phone calls,” he said.

Reports of damage came in throughout the area, with limbs, trees and power lines in some areas.

Ted Behrhorst, a resident of St. Louis, was out on Thursday evening quietly examining the damage caused by fallen trees at his home at 6400 Sutherland Avenue. It was the second time in weeks that his house had been damaged by storms.

“Why this has to happen here, it’s ridiculous,” he said, acknowledging that the damage could have been worse. “I don’t know what to say.”

The National Weather Service had reports of trees fallen on power lines in De Soto, a tree blown down near Interstate 64 in Frontenac, and weather damage in many other towns in the area, from De Soto to Kirkwood, Ballwin and the Metro. East as the storms passed.

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