Monday's afternoon's storm and flooding left thousands without power in the St. Louis area. Ameren reports only a handful of homes and businesses remain without power Tuesday morning.
At the height of the Monday afternoon storm over 4,000 were without power in Missouri and another 1,000 in Illinois.
They were most heavily concentrated in Webster Groves and Affton. Lights were also out at several businesses at the intersection Hampton and Chippewa.
The greatest threat from the storms was flooding.
Some areas in and around St. Louis absorbed several inches of rain in short order. Flash flooding, a problem in several areas including South City on Kingshighway near Chippewa, where Jerry Ackerman says his Toyota showroom got a little wet. (Yeh, it kinda happened real quick here. The rain came down, water starts shooting out of the manholes and the next thing you know it's up to our front window here in the showroom.)
Ackerman says everything was fine until drivers ventured through the water, creating waves which pushed the H2O into his business. There was about three inches of water to mop up. Reporting in South St. Louis city, I'm Vicki Pimentel, KTRS news.
Good news for those still cleaning up from Friday's storms. Ameren reports that the power has been restored to almost all electric customers in St. Charles County and the metro-east.
Steady progress is also being made to repair damage in infrastructure in St. Louis County where an EF-3 tornado took down more than a hundred power poles. Ameren officials say more than 500 poles were damaged area wide.
Ameren's Michael Moehn says it's been a big job with a big price tag. "Roughly speaking we're probably spending about $3 million a day to put the system back together." Moehn says eventually that cost will be passed along to consumers.
As of 2:50 a.m. Tuesday, about 14,000 St. Louis County residents remain in the dark. That's down from more than 35,000 Monday morning and well over 90,000 on Friday.
A quick traffic note. MoDOT is closing 170 between 70 and 270 until 3PM on Monday.
They are giving Ameren crews time to restring power lines over the interstate. Drivers are encouraged to use 70 or 270 as a detour.
Ameren crews continue to work around the clock to restore power to those affected by Friday night's storms.
The EF-3 tornado carved a 32 mile path of destruction from Weldon Spring to Ferguson and tore down over 200 poles critical to supplying electricity to tens of thousands of customers. Ameren's Michael Moehn says replacing the 70 foot poles is extremely labor intensive.
"This is what we would call sub-transmission lines," Moehn said. "So the way it works is, we have to get this installed first because this feeds substations which then feed neighborhoods. So what we have to do is come in and disconnect everything from the existing poles, and then reset the new pole, and reconnect everything."
Moehn urges anyone who sees a downed pole or power line to stay away from it and call Ameren immediately. (1-800-552-7583)
Moehn says about 90,000 customers were left in the dark from Friday's storms.
He says it is one of the top wind-damaging outbreaks in recent memory. "This certainly ranks up there with the top two or three in the past six or seven years. Again, the amount of sub-transmission with these really high poles, that kind of damage is significant."
Moehn expects most customers will have power restored by later today, although some may have to wait until tomorrow. As of 6:00 a.m. today, 36,000 electric customers in St. Charles and St. Louis Counties were still without power. Another 1,000 customers in Madison County were still in the dark.
Another line of storms is pushing through the St. Louis area as of 7:00 a.m. Monday. Severe storms that pushed through the St. Louis metro area early Monday morning brought strong winds and lightning. The storms caused scattered power outages that plunged thousands of residents into the dark.
As of 7:05 a.m., about 88-hundred people are without power on the Missouri side of the river with about half in St. Louis County and another 19-hundred in the Metro East-mainly in St. Clair County.
Ameren has set up a memorial fund for one of their line workers who died last week. Dave Burns was electrocuted while performing repairs in the wake of the Hazelwood tornado.
Donations can be sent to the following fund:
In Memory of Dave Burns Fund
Vantage Credit Union
P.O. Box 4433
Bridgeton, Mo. 63044
Sympathy cards and/or letters of condolence can be sent to:
Baue Funeral Home
Attn: Ryan Burns
3950 W. Clay St.
St. Charles, Mo. 63301
With another line of potentially severe weather expected to push through the metro-area Thursday, Ameren has place crews on both sides of the river on stand-by. Ameren officials say they've mobilized personnel and equipment to facilitate their response to any storm-related power outages.
But Ameren officials say there are some things customers who lose power during the storms need to do. First, officials say, report the outage. Don't assume the power company knows your lights are out.
Second, they remind customers to stay away from downed power lines and always assume that any lines that have fallen are still live wires. Report the downed lines immediately.
They say to stay out of the way of power company crews who are working to repair lines and restore power.
And finally, they ask customers to be patient. Crews will get repairs made as quickly as they can do so safely.
More tips can be found at Ameren's online Outage Center.
Sad news as crews continue to cleanup efforts in North County.
An Ameren lineman died today while working to restore power in St. Ann. Reports are the worker, an 18 year veteran, came in contact with a live wire and was electrocuted.
They claim dumping the Illinois coal plants will reduce business risk, improve earnings and strengthen its balance sheet. Ameren executives say the company will focus on its utilities and the expansion of its transmission system.
Dynegy Inc. will buy the five Ameren coal-fired power plants representing more than 4,100 megawatts of generating capacity as well as Ameren’s power marketing business.
Ameren will receive no cash in the deal, but it will benefit by offloading $825 million of debt tied to the generating business. The company said it will also realize $180 million in tax benefits.
The Consumer Council, a nonprofit consumer advocacy group, is arguing against passage of Missouri Senate Bill 207 that would allow Ameren to establish a surcharge in order to generate millions of dollars for infrastructure improvements.
Consumer groups argue that the extra revenue isn't needed since the utility earned well above it's authorized return limits in 2012. They also point to a $263 million rate increase that took effect in January.
Ameren officials say the higher than expected profits last year were due to unusual circumstances, like the extra-hot summer, and weren't enough to cover needed infrastructure improvements.