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ALTON - A tree fell on a house on Western Avenue in Alton, the railway viaduct on Homer Adams became flooded, another tree fell near that viaduct and the Shogun's sign blew over - all because of a thunderstorm striking the area last evening.
Alton Fire Chief Bernie Sebold said his department responded to at least 10 calls during the severe thunderstorm, which struck the area late last evening. A combination of high winds and hail ravaged the eastern side of the city, causing significant damage. Sebold said his department worked with Alton's Public Works Department late into the evening to assist with damages.
"Personally, we're thankful it was a short-lived storm and affected mostly the eastern part of the city," Sebold said.
During the storms, Sebold said the road under the train viaduct on Homer Adams Parkway was flooded and a tree fell near that viaduct, causing a lane blockage on the Western lanes. Other reports of fallen limbs and power lines came throughout the night to the department, including a home damaged by live electrical wires, the sign from Shogun's restaurant blown over and even an entire tree falling into a home on Western Avenue in the Milton area.
"It was scary," the homeowner said. "I was sitting in a chair and my husband and I quickly went into the other room when it happened. We are both O.K., thankfully."
The woman did not wish to give her name to a reporter on the scene Tuesday morning, but said she had lived in that home for 42 years, and the fallen tree had been in the yard since before she arrived. She described the incident as "devastating," but said she hoped to get the tree off the house and reconstruct the damaged sections of their home.
These summer-like storms are a result of a cold front pushing through the area into above-average temperatures. National Weather Service (NWS) in St. Louis meteorologist Charlie Kelly said more storms are expected today.
"We're expecting a chance of a couple isolated strong to severe storms today," he said. "The most worrying aspects at this time are damaging winds and the possibility of some hail. The best chances for Alton are in the late afternoon to early evening at this point. We'll see a couple strong storms before the front passes tonight."
Kelly said nice weather should follow the front. Highs Wednesday are not expected to exceed 70, he said, with projections in the mid-to-upper 60s. Thursday, however, the highs will reach into the 70s, and by Friday, Kelly said the St. Louis area would again see unseasonably warm temperatures, which have been commonplace so far this year.
Highs Saturday and Sunday are projected to reach into the 80s. Kelly said another system would bring temperatures into the 70s early next week, which may be cooler, but is still unseasonably warm.
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