Published July 14, 2017
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has declared a state of emergency amid the latest round of violent weather to hit Missouri.
Nixon's office issued the declaration late Friday after storms that spawned tornadoes, damaging winds and heavy rain crossed Missouri from the southwest to the northeast. The St. Louis area took the brunt of the storms, with widespread power outages and structural damage.
The State Emergency Operations Center has been monitoring the storm system throughout the week as several days of heavy rain pushed rivers and streams out of their banks and caused massive flash flooding.
The governor's declaration also allows state agencies to coordinate directly with cities and counties to provide emergency services.
A reported tornado touched down near Bellflower, according to a Fox2Now.com report.
The storms that began pounding the region around 6:30 p.m. prompted numerous tornado warnings, with at least a few confirmed sightings from Montgomery County about 70 miles west of St. Louis into St. Louis County itself. Many homes were damaged in St. Charles County.
Emergency management officials say the Hollywood Casino in Maryland Heights lost its roof.
Rich Gordon, of Jefferson City, says he was on the casino floor when he heard a loud "boom" and officials evacuated the floor. Windows were blown out of the casino and metal power poles outside were snapped off at the base.
The storm threat will remain through Saturday before quieter conditions set in for the new week.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.