Clean-up continues in tornado-damaged University City


by staff

Posted on April 4, 2014 at 5:37 AM

Updated Friday, Apr 4 at 10:40 AM

UNIVERSITY CITY, Mo. -- Clean-up continued in University City on Friday, a day after a tornado touched down in the suburban St. Louis neighborhood, damaging almost 100 homes.

No one was hurt from the twister that struck University City around 5:23 a.m. Thursday.

The tornado was a small one—the National Weather Service characterized it as between an EF0 and an EF1, meaning winds were likely between 65 mph and 110 mph.

Aerials photos: Tornado damages U City homes

The tornado downed several power lines and trees, some of which blocked major roadways. Ninety-four homes were damaged, 20 of them extensively, said Martina Boyter, a spokeswoman for University. 

A downed tree from the storms caused a gas leak near McKnight. Laclede gas officials say about 57 homes were without gas because of a broken main. All residents affected by the leak were under a mandatory evacuation.

The Herman Park Community Center located at 975 Pennsylvania Ave. was open as a place for evacuees to receive shelter. 

Volunteers with the Red Cross were also providing displaced residents with canteening supplies like blankets, drinks and snacks at the University City reception center.

Raw video: Storms cause wide-spread damage in U City

Power poles were reported down near Delmar in University City near the scene of the gas leak. A wall also collapsed at an old Walgreens near the intersection of McKnight and Delmar. 

Weather watchers were bracing for even worse storms Thursday night, but that round, while severe, didn't spawn any confirmed tornadoes or cause much significant damage.

Ironically, the afternoon storm stole some of the thunder -- literally -- from the later storm, National Weather Service meteorologist Jayson Gosselin said.

"The afternoon storm helped. Temperatures were cooler and the amount of instability was a lot less than what we thought it would be (for the evening storms)," Gosselin said.

About 7,000 people were without power shortly after the storm.

University City set up a disaster hotline for tornado victims to report non-emergency, disaster related calls.

Residents are urged to use the hotline to report tornado or other natural related damage, request inspections, request reconnection of utilities, etc. The number for the hotline is (314) 505-8540.