Updated at 12:49 pm:
The Tornado Watch has been canceled for St. Louis city and areas West. The severe weather threat continues to move through Illinois.
Damage reports are widespread. Ranging from vehicles blown off the road on I-270 to large trees uprooted in St. Louis City.
At around 11:40 AM, a powerful storm blew through Kirkwood then traveled into St. Louis City. That storm had wind gusts estimated at 60 miles per hour.
A Tornado Watch has been issued for much of the listening area. The watch includes 13 counties in Missouri and 17 counties in Illinois. The complete text of the watch is below. A Tornado Watch means that conditions are favorable for the development of severe storms that could produce tornadoes.
The entire metro area is under a wind advisory. Winds could gust as high as 45 miles an hour.
Thunderstorms are expected to develop in the St. Louis area around midday before heading into Illinois. The storms will also bring a cold front to St. Louis. Temperatures are in the 70's in the morning, but will fall into the 50's by the evening.
Full text of Tornado Watch
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HAS ISSUED TORNADO WATCH 561 IN EFFECT UNTIL 4 PM CST THIS AFTERNOON FOR THE FOLLOWING AREAS
IN ILLINOIS THIS WATCH INCLUDES 17 COUNTIES
IN SOUTH CENTRAL ILLINOIS
BOND IL CLINTON IL FAYETTE IL MARION IL MONTGOMERY IL WASHINGTON IL
IN SOUTHWEST ILLINOIS
CALHOUN IL GREENE IL JERSEY IL MACOUPIN IL MADISON IL MONROE IL RANDOLPH IL ST. CLAIR IL
IN WEST CENTRAL ILLINOIS
ADAMS IL BROWN IL PIKE IL
IN MISSOURI THIS WATCH INCLUDES 13 COUNTIES
IN CENTRAL MISSOURI
AUDRAIN MO CALLAWAY MO OSAGE MO
IN EAST CENTRAL MISSOURI
FRANKLIN MO GASCONADE MO JEFFERSON MO LINCOLN MO MONTGOMERY MO ST. CHARLES MO ST. LOUIS MO WARREN MO
IN NORTHEAST MISSOURI
PIKE MO RALLS MO
IN MISSOURI THIS WATCH INCLUDES 1 INDEPENDENT CITY
IN EAST CENTRAL MISSOURI
ST. LOUIS CITY MO
THIS INCLUDES THE CITIES OF... BELLEVILLE... BOWLING GREEN... CHESTER... EDWARDSVILLE... LITCHFIELD... MEXICO... QUINCY... SALEM... ST CHARLES... ST LOUIS... UNION AND VANDALIA.
CHICAGO (AP) — A number of Midwestern states are awakening to the threat of a high risk of severe thunderstorms.
The National Weather Service says parts of Illinois, Indiana, southern Michigan and western Ohio are at the greatest risk of seeing tornadoes, large hail and damaging winds Sunday.
The agency says strong winds and atmospheric instability will sweep across the Central Plains during the day before pushing into the Mid-Atlantic states and northeast by evening.
It says the potential for strong and long-track tornadoes will center on the Ohio Valley and adjacent Midwestern states.
Many of the storms are expected to become supercells, with the potential to produce tornadoes, large hail and destructive winds.
The weather service says local and state authorities are monitoring the weather.
ST. LOUIS (AP) — No one knows how many atrocities Joseph Paul Franklin committed as he crossed the country more than three decades ago, fueled by hatred of blacks and Jews. Along the way he bombed a synagogue, robbed banks, shot and wounded a porn icon — and killed, by his own account, nearly two dozen people.
Even among the hard-core criminals on Missouri's death row, Franklin is perhaps the most notorious, killing and maiming victims while shooting from a vacant building, a grassy field and a highway overpass.
Franklin is scheduled to be put to death early Wednesday at a Missouri prison. His attorney says he is a paranoid schizophrenic who was abused as a child. She's asked federal and state courts and Gov. Jay Nixon to halt the execution. All have declined.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Sen. Claire McCaskill says she'll introduce legislation requiring U.S. defense officials to address mismanagement in a military-led unit responsible for finding service members missing in action.
McCaskill's remarks come several months after an Associated Press story revealed an internal Pentagon report harshly critical of the Joint POW-MIA Accounting Command, which searches for missing soldiers' remains. The Pentagon report included accusations of misconduct among those responsible for overseas missions to investigate prospects for recovering remains.
McCaskill, a Democrat, said Friday at a news conference in Kansas City that she's preparing an amendment to the annual defense authorization bill. The amendment would give the Defense Department one year to submit a plan for reorganizing the Joint POW-MIA Accounting Command and improving its accountability.
VERSAILLES, Mo. (AP) — One of three suspects in the February killings of a central Missouri couple has pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree murder.
The Lake Sun Leader reports that 43-year-old Derrell Spellmeyer, of Eldon, also pleaded guilty Thursday to armed criminal action. Sentencing is scheduled Jan. 16 in Morgan County Circuit Court.
Spellmeyer was accused of shooting 53-year-old Carol Wilson and stabbing 66-year-old Freddie Wilson on Feb. 4 at their home in Versailles (vur-SAYLZ'). He was arrested by detectives responding to a call from Carol Wilson saying she had been shot.
Forty-five-year-old Garland Mitchell and 28-year-old Mandy Mitchell, both of Jefferson City, are awaiting trial on the same charges.
The Mitchells told investigators the three went to the home to obtain drugs, but that only Spellmeyer went inside.
15 stores at St. Clair Square are closed this afternoon after a water main break. The break seems to be in the south parking lot between JC Penney and Sears.
Crews are on site working to repair the main.
There was a brief lockdown at Vashon High School today after a fight.
St. Louis City Police were called to the school after there were several fights between female students. Administrators place the school on lock-down and restricted movement between classes to restore order.
Fox 2 reports that nine students are facing charges. The lockdown has been lifted.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - An employee pension reform bill passed by the Legislature for the Chicago park district is being watched as a test case for statewide reforms, even as it poses a tricky dilemma for Gov. Pat Quinn.
Lawmakers say passage of the park district reforms shouldn't be interpreted as a blueprint for the success of a larger plan addressing the state's $100 billion pension problem. But it could be a test case for how pension reform deals will be interpreted by the courts.
House Speaker Michael Madigan's spokesman credits successful negotiations between the park district and labor union, something that hasn't happened statewide.
Quinn has been a champion of pension reform. But union officials who raised a late objection to the park district plan are among his biggest campaign contributors.
St. Louis Police announced today that they have a suspect in custody connected to the shooting of an off-duty officer this week.
On Wednesday night the officer was visiting his sister at her north St. Louis home. The officer asked to men inside the house to leave. One suspect ran out and while the officer was escorting the second man from the house, he shot at the officer. The victim was hit in the leg and the suspect ran from the scene.
The suspect was captured today and charges are pending. The officer was taken to the hospital in stable condition.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A hearing to consider the request of a Missouri teen to have her guilty plea in the killing of a 9-year-old neighbor vacated, corrected or set aside has been rescheduled.
Alyssa Bustamante pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and armed criminal action in the October 2009 killing of Elizabeth Olten. Bustamante now is 19 years old and was 15 at the time of the killing. They lived in St. Martins, just west of Jefferson City.
Online court records show a hearing scheduled for Friday has been moved to Jan. 30.
Bustamante was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole and ordered to serve a consecutive 30-year term for armed criminal action. She was initially charged with first-degree murder, which carries a sentence of life without parole.