ST. LOUIS -- The National Weather Service confirms three tornadoes were part of the Friday night storm that raked portions of the St. Louis area, damaging hundreds of homes but causing no serious injuries.
The weather service’s Jayson Gosselin says a 1,000-yard-wide twister that hit portions of St. Charles County and portions of north St. Louis County was an EF-3, which has winds between 136 and 165 mph.
Authorities said the tornado went on a 32-mile damage path through the southern and eastern parts of St. Charles into north St. Louis City.
The tornado started in Weldon Spring Heights and moved east through Harvester, Earth City, Bridgeton and Ferguson, before ending in the northern edge of St. Louis City.
Officials say eight people suffered minor injuries during the storms. Authorities said 74 homes in the county sustained enough damage to make them uninhabitable, while more than 100 have slight to moderate damage.
Windows blew out of the hotel at Hollywood Casino in Maryland Heights, damaging some cars parked outside with flying debris. Metal power poles in the parking lot snapped off at the base, and emergency managers reported the casino lost part of its roof.
Gamblers reported the walls shook in the poker room. Rich Gordon, of Jefferson City, said he was on the casino floor when he heard a “boom.”
”I didn’t know if it was lightning or what, but it was loud,” Gordon said. Staff then ordered everyone off the casino floor.
St. Louis city spokeswoman Maggie Crane said four outbuildings at Lambert airport were damaged, and all flights were grounded until the storms cleared.
Another EF-3 tornado reaching speeds of about 140 mph ripped through a landfill in Roxana, Ill. An industrial building there sustained damage.
In Macoupin County, an EF-2 tornado swept across Gillespie, downing power lines and heavily damaging several buildings, including a high school gymnasium.
News 4 crews also confirmed that 115-mph winds ripped the roof from the high school gymnasium. Several nearby homes were also damaged by the storms, which brought heavy rain and reports of tornadoes in the town of about 3,400.
The National Weather Service’s Jayson Gosselin said crews are still assessing damage.
Gillespie is located about 50 miles northeast of St. Louis.