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Power Has Been Restored In North County, Ameren Says Not Related To Storms

3:00 PM, Jul 30, 2006   |    comments
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  • Click here to browse viewer submitted photos and submit your own. (KSDK) - Ameren announced Friday afternoon it had restored power to all homes and businesses affected by last week's storms. But around 9:30 p.m., Ameren spokesperson Tim Fox said 8,000 people in north St. Louis County are without power. He said two 34,000 volt circuits shorted out and it wasn't due to last week's storms. Nearly all of the power was restored by Saturday afternoon. Fox added crews are working to repair the circuits. ------ Our earlier report from 4:56 p.m. ST. LOUIS (AP) -- It took nine days and about three thousand utility workers, but power has been restored to the St. Louis region. Ameren spokeswoman Susan Gallagher says about 8,700 still do not have power. But she says workers were still making some repairs at those sites, so they had not been removed from the outage list. Also, some outages were in parts of Missouri and Illinois beyond the St. Louis area. And, she says, there are some outages even in storm-free times. Ameren has been under scrutiny since the first of two major storms swept through St. Louis on July 19th. Combined with a second storm five days later, nearly 700,000 homes and businesses were at one point in the dark. If you are still without power, you can call Ameren at 1-800-552-7583. (Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.) ------ Our earlier reports (KSDK) - During a news conference Monday, Ameren officials say they expect most customers will have electricity by Tuesday, and that almost everyone will have electricity by Wednesday. Ameren crews have been working around the clock to restore power. The company says more than 600,000 people lost electricity at some point. That number was around 8,000 Friday afternoon. Some people have complained that Ameren should have done a better job trimming trees. Two years ago, Ameren was taken to task by Missouri regulators for not trimming trees on a four-year schedule. Since that time, Ameren has been spending more money on trimming, but won't get to a four-year schedule until December of 2008. The current trimming average is every five years. St. Louis County officials say "be patient." In the aftermath of last week's storms, power is being restored as quickly as possible. County officials say the clean up will continue long after electricity is restored. Employees have been working nonstop at the St. Louis County Emergency Operations Center. They're answering questions, address concerns and coordinating resources. County personnel are checking on the homebound. Ten thousand meals-ready-to-eat were distributed last night; another 30,000 are on hand. In St. Louis County alone Sunday, 135,000 people were without power, 50 traffic lights were out, 16 streets were closed, and 15 water mains were still broken. St. Louis County Police stress there have been no security problems on the streets. "Apparently some of the national media was reporting that there was looting in north St. Louis county and St. Louis city. And I've talked to the St. Louis Police Department and ourselves and we have absolutely no looting that's occurred," says Chief Jerry Lee of the St. Louis County Police. ------ (KSDK/AP) - Many in the bi-state region spent Saturday recovering from a week that saw two of the worst storms ever to hit the area. Ameren continues to make progress in restoring power to its customers in the metro area. As of Sunday afternoon, a little over 298,000 homes and businesses remain without electrical service. Southwestern Electic Cooperative, which serves Madison County, Ill., said it had restored power to several thousand customers. Hundreds of businesses -- especially grocery stores and restaurants -- remained closed Saturday because they had no power. Emergency rooms were swamped with those who rely on power for oxygen and other medical needs. Hundreds remained in shelters set up by the American Red Cross, while others were still at some of the dozens of "cooling centers" set up around the region. (Click here for a comprehensive list) The weather has been blamed for four St. Louis-area deaths. Elderly people in St. Louis and De Soto died in homes where the air conditioners lost power; an East St. Louis man died after coming in contact with a downed power line; and a 42-year-old dump truck driver from High Ridge died when the wind blew a steel box onto him. On Saturday, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich added Jefferson and Clinton counties to the list of those declared disaster areas. Following Friday's storms, Blagojevich declared Madison and St. Clair counties disaster areas. Also Saturday, new efforts are underway to restore power to thousands of metro east residents still in the dark. The massive relief effort is being coordinated in Alorton through Illinois Emergency Management Agency mobile command unit. Nine hundred workers are part of the relief effort, including Ameren employees and outside contractors. One hundred and fifty workers have been deployed to East St. Louis and Cahokia alone. (Click here to watch Jeff Small's video report on IEMA) This past week's weather woes began on Wednesday when a storm moved through the St. Louis area. The storm rolled south from central Illinois and brought with it heavy rain and damaging winds. The storms caused several buildings to partially collapse including the former Switzer Candy building near the Eads Bridge. The Eads Bridge was closed after part of the building fell onto the bridge. (Click here to watch Ann Rubin's report) It reopened Thursday only to be closed again after Friday’s storms. Three people were also injured Wednesday night 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. In addition, the winds blew over several tractor-trailers, including three on the Chain of Rocks Bridge. A power outage in the main terminal at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport canceled several flight and left many travelers stranded. Power was restored around 3 a.m. Thursday. The east terminal was not affected. When the storms hit, the St. Louis Cardinals were playing a game at Busch Stadium. At least 40,000 people were sent scrambling for safety and shelter. At least one person was injured by flying debris. (Click here to see video) (Click here to watch Karen Foss' Wednesday's storm wrap-up report) Missouri Governor Matt Blunt Thursday afternoon issued a state of emergency declaration and mobilized the Missouri National Guard. He also asked President Bush for an expedited disaster declaration, which mobilizes the Federal Emergency Management Agency and provides federal funding for debris removal and other emergency needs. Bush approved Blunt’s request on Friday. Thursday evening, around 200 Missouri National Guard troops arrived in the area and on Friday, they began their mission of going door-to-door to check on area residents and help clean up the area. Their mission was interrupted Friday by another round of storms. As Ameren continued to restore service to hundreds of thousands of customers who lost power Wednesday, the National Weather Service issued several tornado and thunderstorm warnings throughout the area. Friday’s storms caused the number of power outages to skyrocket to more than 543,000. In Trenton, Ill., a tornado touched down and caused severe damage to the area. (Click here to watch Steve Jankowski's report from the July 21 edition of NewsChannel 5 at 10) Mt. Vernon resident Roger Kuerth said powerful winds traveled through the area. He said many homes in the area lost power and trees were down everywhere. This was in stark contrast, he said, to Wednesday's storms when the area suffered no damage. Capt. John Lakin of the Madison County Sheriff’s Department said the majority of the damage in that county seemed to be concentrated in the Mitchell, Maryville, Collinsville, and Highland areas EJ Kehrer Farm Supply in Albers lost its roof. A person who answered the phone at the company said another business in the area also lost its roof. Illinois State Police said a roof was blown off a hotel in Troy and a power poll fell on a tractor-trailer on I-270 near I-255. I-64 was closed near Nashville, Illinois after several tractor-trailers overturned. (Click here to watch video of damage in Illinois) In Missouri, the storm knocked out power to St. Mary's Health Center in Richmond Heights. St. Charles County Sheriff Tom Neer reported wind damage and power lines down in the area. In Spanish Lake, a roof above a gas station collapsed. In addition to the many homes and businesses without power, at least 15 St. Louis Fire Deparment stations were, at some point Friday, in the same predicament. Boeing Co. shut down its defense plant Friday after the lights went out, sending 4,000 workers home. Officials weren't sure when power would be restored. (Click here to watch video of damage in Missouri) People in both Missouri and Illinois were generally reporting more damage during Friday’s storms, although Illinois seemed to suffer the brunt of the damage. Ameren asks that all customers call 1-800-552-7583, no matter their location. (Associated Press writer Jim Salter contributed to this report.)

    KSDK/AP

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