Winds blamed in St. Louis-area outages

Tuesday, October 26, 2010 | 11:02 a.m. CDT; updated 11:07 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, October 26, 2010

ST. LOUIS — Utility crews are scrambling to restore electricity to thousands of St. Louis-area homes and businesses affected by storms that packed high winds.

Storms that swept through the region early Tuesday knocked down power lines and trees, leaving as many as 20,000 Ameren customers without power. As of the end of the morning commute, 16,000 Ameren customers remained without power.

The company says it hopes to have most of the power restored by Tuesday night.

The storms were blamed for an injury-free partial building collapse in south St. Louis, with bricks and rubble from the building's roof and facade toppling onto the street. In Ballwin, a woman escaped with slight injuries when a tree toppled onto her house as the family slept.

Forecasters expected the winds with gusts of up to 40 mph to continue Tuesday afternoon.