Water, Water Everywhere

By Tim Butler | Posted at 10:01 PM

“When it rains, it pours.” After essentially no rain in weeks (other than a small drizzle last week), a big thunderstorm passed through tonight. I had just headed out for a short drive over to and around Creve Coeur park — about the only decent outdoor activity with the 100+ degree Fahrenheit temperatures —when a bit of a storm started to appear on the northern horizon. I tried to go around it, but given that I needed to head back north to go home, that didn't work so well.

I was on the river bottoms in St. Louis County, but went up and around to try another approach. When I came back down, what I would say were straight line winds (based on later examination of area damage) were stirring up gravel, debris and dust — not the kind of stuff I wanted to drive my car through. So, I made a u-turn, went back up the hill and holed up under the shelter of a Philips 66 at Hog Hollow Rd. and Olive Blvd. in case it hailed. I spent about an hour there, watching the front come in, the rain pour like crazy and the power go on and off. I switched between XM's Instant Traffic and Weather and KMOX (“the Voice of St. Louis”) trying to find out how the storm was doing, but I think for the most part they were taken aback by the intesity of this storm as much as I was. The KMOX news editor didn't even have time to prepare for the hourly local news because he was too busy reporting on this storm.

The poor station attendant at the gas station kept having to turn people away from the gas pumps since they apparently take 10 minutes to start up, and the power wouldn't stay on for more than 10 minutes at a time. One fellow stood there for probably 30 minutes trying to finish filling his tank before giving up. One time that the power was on long enough for the registers to work, I went in and bought a bottle of water to drink. The sirens went off, but I never heard on the radio where the tornado was.

Back home, the storm has definitely left its mark on the subdivision, taking down large parts of trees, siding, and so on. Traffic lights are on the fritz and power is still out to several hundred thousand homes (especially on the St. Louis side, it seems). Apparently, part of the roof on Lambert-St. Louis International Airport's one concourse blew off and was laying on several lanes of I-70.

This was suppose to be just a small storm for those of us north of the city, I was told. Conversely, another storm system coming in tomorrow afternoon is suppose to be severe. I think I'll try to avoid that one. :)

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