ST. LOUIS (KSDK) – An unusual fall outbreak of storms has wreaked havoc across the St. Louis metropolitan area as well as several eastern counties in Illinois.
The National Weather Service says parts of Illinois, Indiana, southern Michigan and western Ohio are at the greatest risk of seeing tornadoes, large hail and damaging winds Sunday, according to an Associated Press report.
A cold front caused wind gusts up to 70 miles per hour, downed trees and power outages across the area.
Ameren Missouri and Ameren Illionois have each opened an emergency operations center to help with power restoration efforts. In Missouri, as many as 35,000 power outages were reported late Sunday afternoon, with the hardest hit areas in St. Louis. As of Sunday evening at 8 p.m., the comapny restored 40,000 customers and had more than 12,000 without power.
In Illinois, more than 140,000 homes and businesses are without power with the most being reported in Washington, Pekin, Danville and Bloomington areas, according to Ameren Illinois.
The storm even halted the Chicago Bears game against the Baltimore Ravens and evacuated attendees and players due to heavy rain and winds. The game resumed after a two-hour delay.
Central Illinois communities also suffered extensive storm damage and rescue teams are on their way to help reports of people trapped in buildings.
The National Weather Service reported two fatalities north of New Minden, Ill and have sent crews to survey the areas. Three other deaths have been reported in Washington, Ill, and two others occurred in Massac County in southern Illinois.
Meanwhile, in the metropolitan area, problems continue to mount for travel
St. Charles County reported a number of downed power lines and debris in roadways. In addition, the Poplar Street Bridge has shut down due to an overturned tractor trailer.
Photo Gallery: Storm rips across St. Louis, Ill. areas
Metrolink trains have returned to their normal schedule after experiencing 20-30 minute delays on its red line and on its blue line between Forest Park and Fairview Heights stations. Red line between North Hanley and Lambert Airport will have 5-10 minute delays due to scheduled construction. All service will run normally on Monday.
Tornado watch remains in parts of eastern counties in Illinois for the next hour but should dissipate. High winds will remain throughout this afternoon and die down toward the evening hours.