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   JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Governor Jay Nixon is requesting a federal major disaster declaration for severe storms that struck Missouri from May 29th to June 10th.

   The storms included one that spawned a tornado in the St. Louis area and others that caused widespread flooding.

   Nixon's request Wednesday is for public assistance to 30 counties statewide from Barton County on the border with Kansas to St. Louis County. The governor also is requesting individual assistance for Callaway, Lincoln, Montgomery, Osage, Pike, St. Charles and St. Louis counties.

   Public assistance allows local officials to seek aid for response and recovery efforts. Individual assistance allows households to seek federal aid for uninsured losses.

 
Published in Local News
Wednesday, 05 June 2013 05:52

12 Mo. counties eligible for assistance

   JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Farmers in a dozen Missouri counties could be eligible for emergency loans through the U.S. Agriculture Department for damage from severe spring weather.

   Gov. Jay Nixon's office said Tuesday the federal agency has declared natural disasters for the counties because of severe storms, high winds and flooding.

   The northern counties of Clark, Harrison, Mercer, Putnam, Schuyler, Scotland and Worth are eligible because they border primary disaster areas in Iowa hit by severe weather in the second half of April.

   In eastern Missouri, five counties are eligible because they border primary disaster areas in Illinois that were affected by severe weather between April 16 and May 5. Those counties are Lincoln, Marion, Pike, Ralls and St. Charles.

   Farmers should document losses or additional costs caused by the weather between those dates.

Published in Local 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.  

 
Published in Local News

   Kratz Elementary School in the Riteneour School District is closed due to the power outage in St. Ann.

   Riverview Gardens summer school classes have been cancelled for Monday, June 3rd.  The closure is due to storm damage and power outages to the districts four schools hosting summer school.

   The St. Louis Archdioceses School, Blessed Teresa of Calcutta in Ferguson, Mo. will also be closed on Monday, due to the lack of power from Friday’s storm.

   The Ferguson-Florissant school district is making changes to its summer programs, due to Friday’s storm damage to buildings and power outages.

   Monday’s summer classes at McCluer High School and Johnson-Wabash Elementary School have been cancelled.  Classes will resume on Tuesday, June 4th at the following locations:  Johnson-Wabash Elementary summer school will be held at Duchesne Elementary School, located at 100 South New Florissant Road.  McCluer High summer school will be relocated to McCluer North at 705 North Waterford Drive.  The districts other summer program, Adventure Camp; is being moved to Combs Elementary School located at 300 St. Jean Street in Florissant, effective Monday, June 3rd.

 

Published in Around Town

   Kratz Elementary School in the Riteneour School District is closed due to the power outage in St. Ann.

   Riverview Gardens summer school classes have been cancelled for Monday, June 3rd.  The closure is due to storm damage and power outages to the districts four schools hosting summer school.

   The St. Louis Archdioceses School, Blessed Teresa of Calcutta in Ferguson, Mo. will also be closed on Monday, due to the lack of power from Friday’s storm.

   The Ferguson-Florissant school district is making changes to its summer programs, due to Friday’s storm damage to buildings and power outages.

   Monday’s summer classes at McCluer High School and Johnson-Wabash Elementary School have been cancelled.  Classes will resume on Tuesday, June 4th at the following locations:  Johnson-Wabash Elementary summer school will be held at Duchesne Elementary School, located at 100 South New Florissant Road.  McCluer High summer school will be relocated to McCluer North at 705 North Waterford Drive.  The districts other summer program, Adventure Camp; is being moved to Combs Elementary School located at 300 St. Jean Street in Florissant, effective Monday, June 3rd.

 

Published in Local News

   It was a big weekend for graduation ceremonies in the St. Louis area, but Friday night's storms forced several to be moved, postponed or both.  The storms downed power lines and damaged the Family Arena in St. Charles where five high schools had been scheduled to hold graduation ceremonies over the weekend.  

   Francis Howell North, Francis Howell Central and Francis Howell high school combined their separate Saturday ceremonies into one mega-graduation at Lindenwood University on Sunday where more than 390 students received their diplomas.  

   Mehlville and Oakville high schools had reserved the arena for Sunday and instead moved both commencements to Oakville.  And power loss at UMSL forced Hazelwood high schools to move their commencement exercises from Saturday, to Sunday.

Published in Local News

   ST. LOUIS (AP) — Waves of violent weather spawning high winds and tornado have torn through the St. Louis area, downing trees and power lines and sending gamblers rushing from a casino floor. There were no immediate, confirmed reports of injuries.

   The storms that began pounding the region around 6:30 p.m. prompted numerous tornado warnings, with at least a few confirmed sightings from Montgomery County about 70 miles west of St. Louis into St. Louis County itself. Many homes were damaged in St. Charles County, specifically at Whitmoor Country Club and other nearby subdivisions.

   Emergency management officials say the Hollywood Casino in Maryland Heights lost its roof.  Investigators did find the building structurally safe.  The casino is set to reopen at 8 a.m. Saturday.

   Rich Gordon, of Jefferson City, says he was on the casino floor when he heard a loud "boom" and officials evacuated the floor. Windows were blown out of the casino and metal power poles outside were snapped off at the base.

    Audience members at Friday night's Circus Flora performance were moved from under the big top to the nearby VA shelter during intermission in the city's Grand Center Theater District. 

Published in Local News

   The National Weather service is trying to determine if storm damage in parts of St. Clair County Thursday evening was caused by straight line winds or a small tornado.  

   The county Emergency Management Agency reports that the worst damage was in Marissa, Illinois, about 40 southeast of St. Louis.   That's where there were several unconfirmed reports of a tornado touching down about 7:00 p.m.  

   Marissa resident Alice Steinheimer was still shaking when she spoke with Fox 2 News after the storm knocked down several trees on her property. She said it was a frightening evening. "It was scary, believe me," she said.  "I thought we was havin' a tornado. And I don't like them tornadoes."  

   Steinheimer said the tree damage is overwhelming.  "Oh my God, it's something," she said.  "I don't know how I'm going to get this mess cleaned up."

   Several car and homes were also damaged in the Marissa area.

 

Published in Local News

   Dozens of St. Charles residents are homeless after their apartments flooded during Monday night's heavy rainfall.  

   Residents at the Riverview Lane Apartments spent Tuesday cleaning up and trying to salvage what they could.  But single mom Jamie Roa told Fox 2 News that losing most of her possessions isn't the hardest part of her ordeal.  It's not having a home for her two daughters.

   "My kids are crying to me, 'Mommy, I want to come home.  Please come get me.  Please come get me.'  And I can't go and get them," she said.  "Because I don't have a home to bring them home to."

   This isn't the first time the apartments have flooded. Recently, property owner, Sheila Stumps installed new storm drains to take rain run off water away from the building, but she and residents told Fox 2 News that the city sewers keep backing up.

   To make matters worse, some residents say they've been denied flood insurance because their building sits on a flood plain.  Other residents say there's nothing in their leases to indicate the risk of flooding.

   Stump insists that she informs everyone of the risk verbally.

   Stumps says she’ll get the tenants back into their homes as soon as possible, but admits that it will take time.

 
Published in Local News

   GRANBURY, Texas (AP) — Habitat for Humanity spent years in a North Texas subdivision, helping build many of the 110 homes in the low-income area. But its work was largely undone during an outbreak of 16 tornadoes Wednesday night that killed six people and injured dozens.

   On Thursday, authorities combed through debris in Granbury, while residents awaited the chance to see what was left of their homes. Witnesses described the two badly hit neighborhoods as unrecognizable, with homes ripped from foundations and others merely rubble.

   Granbury, about 40 miles southwest of Fort Worth, bore the brunt of the damage. The National Weather Service's preliminary estimate was that tornado had wind speeds between 166 and 200 mph. Other tornadoes spawned from the violent spring storm damaged nearby Cleburne and Millsap.

   "I tell you, it has just broken my heart," said Habitat for Humanity volunteer Elsie Tallant, who helped serve lunch every weekend to those building the homes in a Granbury neighborhood and those poised to become homeowners.

   Hood County Commissioner Steve Berry said Thursday he couldn't tell one street from another in Granbury's Rancho Brazos Estates neighborhood because of the destruction. Half of one home was torn away while the other half was still standing, glasses and vases intact on shelves. Trees and debris were scattered across yards, and fences were flattened. Sheet metal could be seen hanging from utility wires.

   The weather service said the preliminary storm estimate for the Granbury tornado was an EF-4, based on the Fujita tornado damage scale. An EF-5 is the most severe.

   Of the homes in the Rancho Brazos Estates, 61 of them were built by Habitat for Humanity, according to Gage Yeager, executive director of Trinity Habitat for Humanity in Fort Worth. He said most of those homes were damaged, including at least a dozen that were destroyed.

   Raul Rodriguez was among the lucky few: His Habitat for Humanity home was still standing. The 42-year-old mechanic rode the storm out in a closet with his wife and three children. They heard the windows shattering outside but realized their fortune when they emerged to see a heartbreaking scene.

   "Injured people, bloody people, started coming to our house, asking us to call 911," said Rodriguez, who has lived in the neighborhood for more than two years. He assessed his own home, finding only shattered windows, lost roof shingles and a collapsed garage.

   "My neighbors to the right, they lost everything," he said.

   Habitat for Humanity homes, built for low-income buyers using volunteer labor and donations, are financed with affordable loans. The nonprofit selects homeowners based on their level of need, willingness to become partners in the program and ability to repay their loan. Homeowners invest their own time into building the homes as well.

   Habitat for Humanity volunteer Bill Jackson said the damaged or destroyed homes were insured and can be rebuilt. But that doesn't alleviate Tallant's pain. She'd gotten to know the people who had waited for years to become homeowners.

   "We were going to dedicate a house this weekend, and her home was destroyed," she said.

   Hood County Sheriff Roger Deeds said Thursday afternoon that two of the dead were women and four of them men; one man and one woman in their 80s.

   "Some were found in houses. Some were found around houses," Deeds said. Six or seven people have not been accounted for, he said at a news conference.

   "I'm very confident we'll find those people alive and well," Deeds said, adding 37 injured people were treated at hospitals. "We're going to keep looking. We're not going to give up until every piece of debris is turned over."

   Harold Brooks, a meteorologist at the weather service's severe storm lab in Norman, Okla., said May 15 is the latest into the month that the U.S. has had to wait for its first significant tornadoes of the year. Brooks said he would expect 2013 to be one of the least lethal tornado years since the agency started keeping records in 1954.

   Earlier Thursday, about 20,000 homes and businesses in the region were without power. By the evening, it had dropped to nearly 3,500 homes and businesses.

   Another tornado cut a mile-wide path through Cleburne on Wednesday, storm spotters told the National Weather Service. The weather service said it was estimated as an EF-3, which has winds between 136 mph and 165 mph.

   Cleburne Mayor Scott Cain said Thursday morning that no one was killed or seriously hurt in the city of about 30,000 some 25 miles southeast of Granbury. Nine people suffered minor injuries, and upward of 150 homes were damaged and another 50 were destroyed.

   Cleburne resident Derrek Grisham, 26, said he ran to his mother's home to check on her and his 10-year-old son, who was staying with her.

   "I had to kick in the front door to get them out," he said, explaining the two had taken shelter in a bathtub.

   On Thursday, he went through his mother's damaged home, salvaging items before the home is likely torn down. The roof had been ripped off and he said her belongings were a jumbled mass, but crosses had stayed in place on the living room wall.

Published in National News
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