Strong storms swept though the metro St. Louis area Friday evening, bringing strong winds, lightning, heavy rain and even some unconfirmed reports of tornadoes.
One metro-east town is heartbroken after the storm did serious damage to a structure with historic and sentimental significance.
Gillespie High School sustained heavy damage in the storms. The concession stand along the athletic fields was wiped out. The roof was peeled back on the building housing the weight room. But most upsetting was the damage to the school's historic gymnasium. The building was heavily damaged in the storm, one brick wall crumbling when part of the roof was ripped away.
The Macoupin County emergency manager is reporting that 25 to 30 homes in the Gillespie area sustained roof damage. Several large trees were knocked down, taking many power lines with them.
Power is out to the entire town of Gillespie and much of the area surrounding the town about 50 miles northeast of St. Louis.
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.
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.
8:10PM: A line of severe storms is moving through the St. Louis metro area.
These storms are capable of producing damaging straight-line winds, hail, and flash flooding.
A Tornado Warning has been issued for St. Louis county that expires at 8:15 PM
An Amber Alerty issued for Missouri has been canceled. Police found missing 8-year-old boy Lu'Vell Maurice Dukes.
Police say the boy is in good condition and is being taken to see his mother. The boy's biological father, Von Harrell Jr. has been arrested.
An Amber Alert is active for Missouri.
Police say 8-year-old Luvell Maurice Dukes was abducted by his father Friday afternoon. The full Amber Alert is below:
The Bel Nor Police Department has issued an Amber Alert for a child abduction that occurred Thursday May 30. Abducted was Luvell Maurice Dukes, an 8 year old black male, 3'06" 43 lbs., black hair and brown eyes.
The suspect is believed to be Von Harrell, a 30 year old black male, 5'08" 155 lbs., black hair and brown eyes.
The suspect vehicle is a grey 2007 Chevrolet Impala bearing Missouri registration MG3Z8W.
Anyone seeing the victim, suspect or vehicle or anyone having any information related to the abduction should immediately dial 911 or call the Bel Nor Police Department at 314-381-2971.