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Missouri ice storm leaves thousands without power

By KWMU staff

St. Louis – An ice storm warning is in effect until noon today, as freezing rain moves east across Missouri.

Bad weather Sunday left tens of thousands without power, mostly in central Missouri.

Governor Matt Blunt declared a state of emergency and activated the national guard. There are no major power outages in the St. Louis area, but Ameren is still working to restore power to its 37,000 central Missouri customers who lost electricity.

Company spokeswoman Susan Gallagher said out-of-state crews are helping Ameren's own workers.

"We pulled in crews, and we have other crews on alert across our area," Gallagher said. "So certainly we are doing the best we can to prepare. We always monitor the weather."

National Weather Service meteorologist Doug Tilly said the weather system is similar to one that knocked out power to a half million St. Louisans a year ago.

"As far as severity, they're just about the same," Tilly said. "To make things even worse, we're going to have a bit of a break in the precipitation this afternoon. But then later tonight, it looks like it's going to be starting up again."

Tilly said at this time of year, arctic air masses begin to move through the area. However he said that cold air is not far south enough to generate snow, so precipitation falls as freezing rain instead.