Last night, not long after I got back home from my ride, I noticed the wind was really blowing outside. That seemed weird, as it was pretty calm when I got home. I’d been watching for the Cards game to start, and noticed that it hadn’t yet, which was also weird as it was after the start time. Then I heard the wind strongly gusting outside, looked out and realized we were getting ready to have a really, really bad storm.
I flipped to one of the local channels, and realized that we had a huge gust front moving through from the north, and it was right on top of us. At that time, they were talking about winds in excess of 60mph. This morning, it was reported that winds in the city were clocked above 80mph. All I know is that these were the strongest winds I can remember seeing from our house. The trees in the back yard were bending farther and farther, and I was certain we would lose some. Limbs we lost, but no trunks, and that’s a good thing.
The rain came beating down about ten minuts after the gust front was through, and it was monsoon-like, torrential, with still-strong winds. The sirens began to go off, and the news began telling us that there was rotation in clouds not far from us. The good news was that, if they continued travelling straight south, the worst would remain to the west of us. Nonetheless, we piled the two of us and the dogs off to the basement, where we could watch the storm through the basement windows, and keep the TV on.
This was not the little cell in Rolla that I had seen. The big, bad storm on the Iowa/Missouri border had made a really big right turn, and was marching right through the city.
As the news kept coming in, it was obvious that this was a bad, bad storm, and that we really hadn’t experienced the worst of the weather in Ellsiville. That was reserved for downtown St. Louis, where 50,000 folks were sitting in Busch Stadium waiting for the game to start. To my eye, this stadium doesn’t have the overhangs and shelter that the old Busch did, so I don’t know what they did with all those people as the storm struck down there. BTW, the game finally started around 9.30pm, and the Cards won, breaking a little losing skid to the Braves.
There was a lot of damage. The airport had part of its roof blow off, and into the adjacent interstate. Three semis were blown over on the I-270 bridge. There are buildings downtown that either collapsed or had walls collapse. This was bad stuff. The mayor got on the air last night, and indicated that this was the worst storm to hit the city of St. Louis in recent memory. I’d believe it.
So this morning, reports are that there are half a million homes without power, and folks all over the area are cleaning up. Today, the forecast is for potentially the same kind of weather to hit us again, as the temperature will be 102-104, with a heat index of as much as 120 in the city. Those folks without power are gonna really suffer today. Hopefully, we’ll get some clouds and rain to cool things off, but without the severe winds.