UNIVERSITY CITY, Mo. -- A tornado touched down in suburban St. Louis early Thursday, part of a strong storm system that caused flash flooding at several locations around Missouri.
No one was hurt from the twister that struck University City in a densely populated area of St. Louis County, touching down at 5:23 a.m. City officials say at least 100 homes were damaged. The tornado was apparently a small one—meteorologists characterized it as between an EF0 and an EF1, meaning winds were likely between 65 mph and 110 mph.
National Weather Service meteorologist Jayson Gosselin said the tornado downed several power lines and trees, some of which blocked major roadways.
Some University City residents were asked to leave their homes after the storms caused a gas leak near McKnight. 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.
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.
Gosselin said it was fortunate that the damage in University City wasn’t worse, and that no one was hurt.
“There’s a lot more to hit when a tornado is in an urban or suburban area, and a lot more people as well,” he 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.
Here are a number of links to help during severe weather:
You can also stay aware of any weather threat with radar and forecast updates by downloading the KMOV mobile app!