New storm socks Ameren St. Louis customers
By Bernie Woodall
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Another severe storm hit the St.
Louis area on Friday, knocking out electricity to 200,000 more
customers of Ameren Corp., just two days after a storm left
more than a half-million customers without power, the company
Ameren, which dates back to 1902, called the Wednesday
storm “the worst storm in company history,” and said it
recorded 1.1 million customer outages among its 2.4 million
customers across Missouri and Illinois from the two storms.
Almost 400,000 customers have had power restored since the
Wednesday storm, but there were still 570,000 customers without
power by Friday afternoon, after the midday storm packing winds
of up to 70 mph passed through the region from eastern Missouri
to western Illinois.
Ameren did not estimate how soon power will be restored to
most customers. Earlier, it had said those who lost power on
Wednesday night could turn on the lights by Monday, give or
take a day.
Ameren had restored 100,000 customers Friday morning before
the midday storm, said Susan Gallagher, Ameren spokeswoman.
About 2,700 Ameren workers and contractors are working to turn
the power back on, and crews have come from as far as Arizona
The Wednesday storm which carried winds of up to 80 mph
tore down power lines and trees, ripped siding off houses and
shut down a major oil refinery in Roxana, Illinois, across the
state line from St. Louis.
“It was the worst (storm in company history) in terms of
the amount of damage and the amount of people without power,”
said Ameren spokesman Tim Fox. “We’ve just never seen this
The weather forecast provided a bit of good news to those
left without air-conditioning to battle the heat. Cooler,
calmer weather will prevail until Wednesday, said Doug Tilly of
the St. Louis office of the National Weather Service.
“There is a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms next
Wednesday,” Tilly said. “Until then, it will be much cooler
through the weekend with highs in the low- to mid-80s
Tilly said the recent heat wave including highs of 100
degrees F and above encountered one cool front on Wednesday
night and another on Friday. When the cooler air met the
lingering hot air, the storms became violent.
Winds up to 54 mph were recorded at Lambert International,
St. Louis’ major airport.
The ConocoPhillips 306,000 barrels per day oil refinery in
Roxana — called the Wood River refinery — provides gasoline
and oil products to the area. That plant accounts for about 8
percent of the gasoline produced by Midwestern refineries.
The highest concentration of customers affected was in the
city and county of St. Louis, as well as in Illinois, known
locally as the Metro East area, Ameren said.
Ameren serves about 2.4 million power customers in Missouri
(Additional reporting by Scott DiSavino)