Preparations made ahead of Wednesday storms after severe weather turned deadly two weeks ago

News 4 is tracking the potential for damaging winds and storms heading into the region Wednesday night.
Published: Jul. 12, 2023 at 5:49 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - News 4 is tracking the potential for damaging winds and storms heading into the region Wednesday night.

This comes nearly two weeks after the deadly storms swept through the Metro. That storm left downed trees, people waiting for 911 calls to go through and some without power for days.

Mike McCann has lived in his Olivette home for the last 20 years.

During the severe weather nearly two weeks ago, power lines fell in McCann’s neighborhood.

“There was a quick wind that came in,” McCann says. “Not a lot of rain but boy, it shocked me because it came very fierce and very quick. I guess within an hour or so, the electricity went down.”

Ameren tells News 4 crews are monitoring the weather, teams have continued to make equipment repairs, and Ameren does not see any lingering issues.

McCann says he was without power for five days and hopes it doesn’t happen again.

“They kept on saying oh it will be connected in six hours,” McCann says. “It was a broken promise. They promised again. It was another six. They did that half a dozen times without any explanation.”

St. Louis County is urging people in the community to call 911 only when it’s an emergency.

Storms bring an influx of calls, but News 4 was told they aren’t bringing in special staff.

St. Louis County says although there isn’t a formal mutual aid agreement, it’s best practice for the County and City to help each other.

If you call 911 and are waiting, dispatcher Audra Parker says you shouldn’t hang up and call back.

If you do hang up, you’ll just put yourself at the back of the line.

“You get our automated system that tells you to be patient until we can get to you,” Parker says.

If it is an emergency, Parker says to put one person in charge of calling for help.

“It makes it more difficult when everyone involved is picking up their cell phones trying to dial 911,” Parker says. “Once you realize someone is dialing 911, just let them dial and talk to us and tell us what’s going on.”

St. Louis County is hiring more dispatchers.

News 4 reached out to St. Louis City to see if there were plans in place to handle 911 calls ahead of the storm. We were sent this statement:

“The Department of Public Safety and City Emergency Management Agency is committed to the safety of our residents and visitors as we continue to monitor the likelihood of severe storms impacting the city tonight and remain in communication with emergency response agencies. Our first responders are prepared to assist and respond to calls for service.

Please stay aware of changing conditions as this storm approaches and passes the city and be ready to take protective actions if necessary. City residents should report downed power lines to Ameren at 800-552-7583 and report city service issues to the Citizens Service Bureau at 314- 622-4800.”

News 4 also reached out to the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District, who tells us they have doubled the number of standby crews and are increasing staffing in their customer service call center.