ST. LOUIS — Severe storms pushed through the St. Louis area Sunday, leaving a path of damage behind after multiple possible tornadoes were reported in the bi-state.
Up to 15 possible tornadoes were reported across Missouri and Illinois. In the St. Louis area, the hardest-hit areas were south of St. Louis in Farmington, Fredericktown and St. Mary in Missouri and in Chester, Illinois. Two National Weather Service (NWS) survey crews will be out Monday morning assessing damage.
As of 6 a.m. Monday, no injuries have been reported in the St. Louis area.
Ameren's outage map showed more than 2,500 customers still without power in Missouri and Illinois Monday morning. Ameren Illinois activated its Emergency Operations Center at 10 p.m. Sunday to manage response efforts.
Photos: Storms leave path of destruction through areas south of St. Louis
The NWS has upgraded damage from "at least EF-2" to EF-3 near Fredericktown along Highway 67. A tornado that's rated an EF-3 has estimated wind speeds of between 136-165 mph. That rating could increase as the survey continues.
A Tweet from MSHP Troop E showed significant damage to the Black River Electric Cooperative building in Fredericktown.
Damage was also reported in Justice City near Fredericktown. Caleb Kime of Midwest Storm Trackers shared photos to Twitter of a family member's home, which he said was completely destroyed in the storm.
A tornado came from the outskirts of St. Mary and pushed inward, causing significant damage and leaving the entire town completely without power as of Monday morning, said St. Mary Fire Chief Frank Ulman.
The National Weather Service identified it as the same tornado that damaged parts of Chester, Illinois. It was first classified as EF-1 but has been upgraded to EF-2 due to damage found in the St. Mary area. That rating may increase as the survey continues.
The fire department has set up a mobile station at 782 3rd Street. St. Mary residents seeking shelter can head to Trinity Baptist Church and St. Mary's Catholic Church, which have external generators.
In a live interview, Ulman provided further resources for St. Mary residents who don't have power. You can watch it below:
On Highway 61, 5 On Your Side reporter Sydney Stallworth reported several damaged vehicles, including cars flipped on top of each other and an overturned semi.
On 7th Street, one of the town's main streets, St. Mary Antique Mall had its roof almost completely ripped off and debris was scattered around the area. Damage was also reported along 6th and 3rd streets.
Stallworth interviewed resident Nick Grogg, whose grandfather's old home, where he spent his childhood, was badly damaged. His own home was destroyed in a tornado back in 2006.
"Everybody was OK. End of the day, that's what it comes down to," he said. "We'll rebuild. It's not our first rodeo in this community. We'll be OK."
The department checked several homes overnight to make sure residents were alright and planned to do a full check at daylight.
The Ste. Genevieve County Sheriff's Office asked people to avoid the St. Mary and Coffman area if possible as first responders deal with the aftermath of the storm.
The Wolf Creek Fire Protection District said around 25 to 30 homes and buildings in the Farmington area were completely destroyed, with another 25 to 30 damaged.
As the storms rolled in Sunday night, the department began receiving calls for downed powerlines on top of cars with people stuck inside them. Multiple calls for people trapped in collapsed homes started pouring in, and crews found themselves delayed by downed power lines and trees, making several highways impassable. Mutual aid was requested from several neighboring departments.
"Firefighters worked well into the morning of the 25th and operations were discontinued around 2:30 am with no fatalities or injuries to the public," the department said. "...We would like to thank all the departments that assisted along with St. Francois County 911 for their hard work during emergency operations for our department while also working a large scale incident in St. Mary Missouri."
Several homes were damaged in the area of Old Possum Hollow Road and Frederick Town Road. A 5 On Your Side photojournalist spotted at least three structures that had been destroyed. A tin roof had been torn from a building and landed across the road, and a barn with farming equipment inside had collapsed.
The EF2 level tornado that struck St. Mary continued across the Mississippi River and through Chester. Some units at a mobile home park suffered roof damage, according to the Randolph County Sheriff's Department. A nursing home was also damaged, and there were reports of downed power lines and trees.
State Route 150 at Bremen Road was closed Sunday night due to the storms and remained closed as of Monday morning. The sheriff's office warned drivers not to drive around barricades and suggested they detour through Shawneetown Trail to the north and Wine Hill Road to the south.