Why Wednesday’s strong storms impacted some but not others

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MILLSTADT, Ill. – Wednesday’s storms caused extensive damage from west of St. Louis to Mark Furrer’s farm in Millstadt, Illinois.

The majority of the damage is from the wind and lightning. Furrer counted nearly 40 mature trees damaged or completely uprooted. His barn took a hit as well.

“It looks like I have a sunroof now,” Furrer said. “We came over to the farm and saw no debris on the way. No branches, no leaves no twigs or anything on the street.”

The storm jumped over his neighbors.

“It seemed to be a very localized event aiming for my hay barn,” Furrer said. “And it’s so localized, that’s what I didn’t understand because the neighbors said we had a little rain, we had a little wind but they didn’t have any damage at all.”

Many think localized damage can only come from tornadoes, but that’s not the case.

Wednesday’s straight-line winds can be localized, known as microbursts. This is when the core of the storm collapses aloft then sends strong gusts of cooler air down to the surface that creates a funnel of straight-line winds in a specific area.

With the damage from the storm, Ameren was busy. At its peak, 25,000 customers were without power.

“We had crews work all through the night to restore power,” Director of Gateway Division at Ameren Ken Worland said. “The main reason we did that is because it’s hot. We understand the inconvenience this has for our customers.” 

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