UPDATE: More Details of Storm's Activity Being Gathered in Richmond Heights, Weather Service Says

The storm came through late Sunday night.

UPDATED AT 5:37 P.M.: About 15 percent of residents living in the 63117 ZIP code—which includes Richmond Heights—were without power as of 5 p.m. following a powerful overnight storm, Ameren Missouri reported on its Web site. That's down from 35 percent earlier in the day.

UPDATED AT 2:35 P.M.: Representatives from the National Weather Service are assessing storm damage in Richmond Heights and are expected to have more details about what transpired overnight later Monday, an official said.

Butch Dye, a hydrometeorological technician with the Weather Service, said an assessment report would be developed, at which point more information will be issued to the media. Weather Service representatives were expected to have more information by late afternoon or early evening, he said.

UPDATED AT 12:10 P.M.: Clayton experienced minimal damage—including to some city signs and possibly a few trees—during the storm, an official said today. Meanwhile in Richmond Heights, power poles were toppled and some businesses were without power.

Branches came down in the storm in Clayton but no right-of-ways were obstructed, communications coordinator Judy Kekich. The report came from Public Works Superintendent Gary Scheipeter.

UPDATED AT 11:28 A.M.: No injuries have been reported in Richmond Heights on Monday morning as downed power lines, loose electrical wires and loads of debris littered the stretch of Big Bend Boulevard between Wise Avenue and Clayton Road following a powerful overnight storm.

That part of the city was hit hardest by the storm.

The surrounding area is without power, and the road is closed to traffic as Ameren crews work to clear the debris, said Irene Johnson, the city's public relations coordinator. Ameren hopes to have power restored by the evening.

Johnson said city crews immediately responded to the storm. Crews from the city's forestry and public works departments are focused on removing debris and trees from roadways to make room for emergency vehicles, and building department workers are looking for building damage in private and public areas throughout town.

UPDATED AT 11:05 A.M.: Ameren employees will be working all day on Big Bend Boulevard to replace six broken power poles and perform other work in the area in the wake of the storm, a spokeswoman said Monday morning.

A number of crews are on the scene, spokeswoman Trina Muniz said. She expected to receive another update on the crews' progress at 4 p.m.

UPDATED AT 10:42 A.M.: The storm damaged parts of University Club Tower, a high-rise that lies across from the Saint Louis Galleria mall, Capt. Brian Wideman of the Richmond Heights Fire Department said Monday morning.

The storm tore up part of its roof and blew out windows on the sixth and 12th floors.

"They're out there assessing," Wideman said of the fire department's chief and battalion chief. A structural engineer also was expected to provide assistance at the scene.

Other damaged sections of town included Claytonia Terrace and Ralph Terrace. The fire department responded to several calls late Sunday night and has received additional calls this morning. More downed power lines are being discovered as power is restored, Wideman said.

Although Ameren teams will have to handle some of the issues, the fire department is assisting as it can, he said.

UPDATED AT 10:28 A.M.: The storm , Richmond Heights police Sgt. Doug Schaeffler said Monday.

The section of the road from Wise Avenue to Clayton Road will be shut down for the near future as crews work to address the problem.

"If you find any downed power lines, call AmerenUE first," Schaeffler said. Ameren had to shut down a grid that serves some of the businesses in that area in order to perform work.

Most of the storm damage happened north of Highway 40, he said. Crews with the city's public works and forestry departments were out cutting apart trees and helping to clean up.

UPDATED AT 9:57 A.M.: Kirby Fowler learned Monday morning of the extensive damage in Richmond Heights while listening to the radio.

They were "saying how much of a war zone it was," said Fowler, who owns with his son, Jason.

Fowler said his business hadn't been affected by the storm. Power didn't go out at his facility, and Big Bend Boulevard had been blocked off just north of his site at the time.

About 20 percent of people in the 63117 ZIP code—which includes Richmond Heights—were without power as of 9 a.m. Monday, according to Ameren Missouri's Web site. Earlier, about 35 percent of people had been without power.

Others weren't as lucky as Fowler.

Over at , studio manager Tina Hall arrived at work to find the facility's air-conditioning unit in the parking lot. Shingles had been ripped off of the ceiling and daylight poured into one of the recording studio's interior rooms.

The light was evident because the power was out. Her boss, Dick Ulett, had gone to buy flashlights.

Shredded material littered the room. Equipment was standing in water, Hall said. Elsewhere in the facility, water could be seen pooling in an overhead light and a bubble apparently caused by water had appeared in a wall.

The facility contains hundreds of thousands of dollars in electronic equipment, Hall said. She had been on the phone with the insurance company and others.

"We're resilient, though," Hall said, laughing.

Most striking about the contrast: The businesses are just blocks apart on Big Bend.

Earlier in the morning, Tom Scherzinger had been taking photos on Big Bend to show his wife, Nancy, who used to live nearby in the 7400 block of Wise Avenue.

"It's devastating," Scherzinger said. He added: "It's just surreal."

Irene Johnson, the city of Richmond Heights' public relations coordinator, said she had not received any official updates on the storm. She said she would speak with City Manager Amy Hamilton and provide an update.

Ameren was working on the downed power lines, though it isn't clear how many were downed in the storm, Johnson said.

Big Bend had been closed off to all traffic from just north of Highway 40 to Clayton Road. Power poles could be seen lying across the road, and an anchor for one of the poles had been pulled up. On adjoining streets such as Wise and Hoover avenues, limbs and residents' recyled plastic bottles littered sidewalks.

A representative with Ameren could not immediately be reached for comment as of 10:15 a.m. In an update posted at 5 a.m., the utility's Web site stated that crews and equipment were being gathered and that its Emergency Operations Center was being opened.

Photos of storm damage may be e-mailed to nate.birt@patch.com.

More information will be published as it becomes available.


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