National Weather Service: “Clearly a tornado” hit University City Thursday

U. CITY – (KTVI) – Storm damage, power outages and a gas leak are the result of a severe storm and a tornado early Thursday morning.  The National Weather Services says the storm did produce a tornado, leaving large amounts of damage and downed trees in its path.

The storm rolled across St. Louis around 5 a.m.  Residents in University City reported hearing sirens and what sounded like a freight train just before trees started to fall.

There were numerous trees down on McKnight road including one that fell onto a house and another that caused a gas main break. Residents in the area had to be evacuated.

University City has set up a Disaster Hotline  for tornado victims. Anyone who needs help and is not experiencing an emergency should call 314-505-8540.  This number should be used by property owners and residents to report tornado  or other natural related damage.

The hotline will be staffed from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.    The Heman Park Community Center is open for residents who have been evacuated.  The center is located at 975 Pennsylvania Avenue.

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Ameren and Laclede gas crews are on the scene in University City on North McKnight.

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Strong smell of natural gas in the University City area on North McKnight near Spoon.  Residents are being evacuated.

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Ameren reporting at least 1800 power outages in Missouri.  Most of the outages are in the Vinta Park, Olivette areas.