St. Louis hit by massive power outages after 80 m.p.h. winds, National Guard mobilized

Friday, July 21, 2006

A storm has knocked out power during a heat wave in the Greater St. Louis Area.

80 mph (130 km/h) winds accompanied by heavy rain caused many tree limbs to fall, some onto cars, some onto thoroughfares, and some on high-tension power lines that supply the city. It also caused at least three building collapses.

After 160,000 people have had their power restored, but 500,000 others are still without power. Three hundred national guardsmen joined volunteers, policemen and firefighters in aiding people during the crisis.

Vulnerable residents in nursing homes and centers for the elderly are being evacuated. Cookies and water are being distributed to those needing them. With temperatures were nearing 100°F (38°C), ice was in short supply as customers grabbed all they could get their hands on.

“I’ve never seen this many people without power, this much debris, buildings collapsed, lines down,” St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay said.

The local power company, AmerenUE, estimated that as of 10:26 p.m. local Central time on the 20th, 418,195 customers had no electricity.

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