Severe thunderstorm sweeps through St. Louis area leaving damage

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

(KTVI) -Strong to severe thunderstorms rolled through the St. Louis area Thursday leaving damage behind.

In Concord, IL, near Jacksonville, there was a small tornado or funnel cloud.

Behind the storms, very strong winds. Winds gusted around 50 mph.

Ameren has set up its emergency operations center to respond to the thousands of customers still left in the dark.

Here are some of the hardest hit areas. As of 8:30 Thursday night, in Missouri St. Louis County has nearly 21,000 customers without power.

There are 2,900 in St. Louis City and 1,500 in Jefferson County.

In Illinois, 3,000 people are without power in Madison County and 2,800in St. Clair County.

High winds damaged a building in Arnold that supports a variety of charities.  The roof of the Knights of Columbus Hall was rolled back. Dacotah Johnson heard it all, “I was terrified I was terrified I literally thought my life was over.”

The public information officer for Rock Community Fire Protection District said, “It actually rolled it similar to a sardine can it just rolled that right off the back of the building.”

There were people inside offices above the Knights of Columbus no one was injured.

And no one was hurt next door even though the ruined roof hit their building.

Anne bock was inside, “It was loud, really, really loud.”

People said the sound was deafening like a roaring freight train. Tammy Edwards added, “It was very loud you just couldn’t hear anything.”

Folks in Arnold know the Knights of Columbus well. It’s become famous for its fish fries. Ed Cirar is a K of C member. “This will be very devastating,” he said.

Ninety percent of their income is a result of the fish fries, lent is almost here, and they are worried.  The money they raise is used to support seminarians, a church, schools, the USO and other charities.  Cirar added, “I want to sit down and cry.”

The structure is off limits to people until building inspectors check it out.

In Highland, high winds wreaked havoc, blowing down trees and power poles, and ripping off roofs.

Trish Evancho was taking a nap when suddenly, just around 4 o’clock Thursday afternoon, she heard a tree snap and fall on her car.  But she and her boyfriend didn’t realize the damage to the house until they opened the back door.

The porch roof had blown off and landed in their neighbor’s yard. A part of the home’s siding was tangled in a tree.  Another piece of the back porch landed at their front door.  “It flew over the back of the house and landed here,” Evancho says.

Their house on Olive Street wasn’t the only victim of these high winds.  A large tree landed on power lines and a car on Poplar Street, power poles went down on Old Trenton, and the roof of a large utility shed collapsed, its debris wrapped around trees and scattered across a field.

Back on Olive, crews worked to repair downed power lines, and clear up debris blocking the driveway.

In the morning, they’ll be able to more clearly survey the damage, but mostly, this couple is just thankful.  “We’re fine, everything’s good,” says Evancho, “It was just scary, that’s all.”

From 8 p.m. until 10 p.m. Thursday night, MetroLink trains will not operate between the Forest Park-DeBaliviere Station, Central West End Station and the Grand Station. Passengers will be transported between those stations by bus shuttles. Customers can expect 30 minute delays.

Also, the single track operation between the Fairview Heights Station and the Memorial Hospital Station has been cancelled. MetroLink is trying to get the trains back on schedule in Illinois but passengers are still experiencing 20 minute delays on that section of MetroLink.

MetroBus is still experiencing some delays. The majority of the delays for MetroBus range from a few minutes behind schedule to 15-20 minutes behind schedule. The longest delay is approximately 30 minutes.