02:36 - Source: CNN
Storm chasers get close to storm

Story highlights

NEW: About 65,000 are still without power in Missouri

Storms had left more than 200,000 without power in Midwest

At least 9 died due to tornadoes in Oklahoma

Three people drowned in Missouri, governor says

CNN —  

Tornadoes tore through the Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and St. Louis, Missouri, areas Friday, ripping up homes and sending thousands scrambling for cover.

Nine people, two children and seven adults, were killed in the Oklahoma storms, a spokeswoman for the state’s chief medical examiner’s office said Saturday morning. This comes less than two weeks after a monstrous tornado made rubble of the nearby town of Moore.

Seventeen tornadoes were reported in the Midwest, and more than 212,000 were without power across the region early Saturday morning. One of the main concerns now is the flooding that the severe weather system left in its wake.

Here are the latest developments:

– While none were killed due to tornadoes, three people drowned in the state of Missouri, Gov. Jay Nixon told CNN affiliate KSDK Saturday.

– Nixon said the tornado that hit St. Charles and St. Louis counties had a “very long damage track,” with “over 10 miles of significant damage … that caused dozens and dozens of houses to be literally blown up.”

– Flooding was a major problem in southern Missouri, the governor said. “Waters are rising, floods are still occurring, and we’re asking people to be very safe,” he said Saturday afternoon.

– A powerful storm caused major damage to a gymnasium of Gillespie High School in southwestern Illinois, with bricks piled up from what had been the gym’s front now piled up on the school’s lawn, Gillespie Mayor John Hicks said. Seven to 10 homes were destroyed – and more than 30 others suffered damage – in the storm.

– There were no injuries in Gillespie, Illinois, a town of about 3,400 people, despite the fierce winds, Hicks said. The mayor said the story might have been much different had the storm struck next week, when hundreds were set to gather not far from the high school for a celebration called Black Diamond Days.

Previously reported:



– Friday’s storms killed two children and seven adults in Oklahoma, said Amy Elliot, spokeswoman for the state’s chief medical examiner’s office.

– At least 71 others were injured, officials said.

– Oklahoma officials are assessing the damage and working to determine if there are other casualties. Among the areas hit by tornadoes Friday: the communities of Union City and El Reno, both in Canadian County just west of Oklahoma City.

– A National Weather Service survey team found damage indicating an EF3 tornado had struck Friday near El Reno, 25 miles west of Oklahoma City. EF3s pack gusts of 136 to 165 mph. The strongest tornado is an EF5.

– Seven of the people killed in Friday’s Oklahoma storms were killed in Canadian County, immediately to the west of the county that includes Oklahoma City, said Canadian County Undersheriff Chris West.

– The seven people who died in Canadian County were inside vehicles, West said.


– The Oklahoma Department of Transportation discouraged travel in the metro area, saying crews are working with the state highway patrol to close roads as necessary.

– Parts of Interstates 35 and 40, which cut through Oklahoma City and Moore, were “a parking lot” when the tornadoes struck.

– Oklahoma City’s Will Rogers World Airport lost part of its terminal roof, forcing travelers to seek shelter in the airport’s basement.

– The airport reopened early Saturday morning, but airlines canceled or delayed several morning departures “due to the fact that they could not fly in late last night to be at the gate for the first departures,” the airport said.

Flights were “slowly resuming” Saturday morning, the airport said. The airport’s website showed many mid- and late-morning departures were on time.


– There’s flooding all across the metro area after 8 to 11 inches of rain fell, said Kristy Yager, a spokeswoman for Oklahoma City. The city also has minor building flooding downtown, including one inch of flood water pooling on the first floor of City Hall.

– “We saw flooding in areas that we don’t see flooding,” said Oklahoma City police Lt. Jay Barnett, but he did not have firm numbers on rescue.

– The city of El Reno, west of Oklahoma City, was also at risk of flooding. The city mayor urged residents to take shelter inside. “It’s started to hail again and rain; we are telling people to stay inside,” Mayor Matt White said.


– A large part of Moore was without power, as were parts of El Reno and Union City littered by downed power lines and trees.

– The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management reports at least 86,200 outages across the state.



– Gov. Jay Nixon said Saturday that there were no fatalities tied to tornadoes that rolled through the St. Louis metropolitan area, but he said at least three people died around the state due to drowning.


– Outside St. Louis, in St. Charles County, some homes were demolished. Aerial video from CNN affiliate KMOV showed at least the second floors of several homes ripped apart, with houses to the front and behind still standing.

– Most of the St. Charles County damage happened in a 10-square-mile area just east of a country club, sandwiched between the town of St. Peters and the Ohio River, county spokesman Colene McEntee told CNN. No serious injuries were reported in the county.

– Also damaged was the 10,000-seat Family Arena in St. Charles, McEntee said. The damage led three high schools in the Francis Howell school district to postpone graduation ceremonies that had been scheduled for Saturday, KSDK reported.


– For four hours, the Lambert-St. Louis International Airport was closed to remove debris from the runway, but it reopened early Saturday morning. The terminals were not affected, but the storm caused damage to some airport buildings. Passengers and employees took shelter in restrooms and lower levels of the terminal before the storm hit, and there were no reports of injuries. Airport updates will be posted here: http://www.flystl.com/Newsroom/Blog.aspx


– Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has declared a state of emergency. Portions of more than 200 roads were closed due to flooding, the Missouri Department of Transportation said Saturday morning.


– The total number of customers without power in the state was more than 67,000 as of 9:30 p.m. (10:30 p.m. ET). The latest numbers can be found here: http://apps.ameren.com/outage/outagemap.aspx?state=MO


The power outages are not limited to the two states. At one point Saturday, tens of thousands were without power, though that number dropped significantly as the day wore on. Below are power outage numbers as of 9:30 p.m. ET.


About 7,700

More details: http://apps.ameren.com/outage/outagemap.aspx?state=IL


About 3,500

More details: http://viewoutage.entergy.com/ar.aspx


Less than 100

More details: https://www-11.westarenergy.com/outagemaps/outagetable.asp


Less than 100

More details: http://www.nipscooutages.com/WSSNisourceOutageMap/outagemap.html?action=city&reloaded=true

CNN’s Dave Alsup and Joe Sutton contributed to this report