Microburst Bashes Shaws Garden in Eureka

When Saturday's early morning storm moved through the Eureka and Wildwood area, one subdivision took the brunt of its fury. Electricity is expected to be out for some residents for up to 24 hours, although several Ameren crews are hard at work.

Christine Merrick, a homeowner within Shaws Garden subdivision in Eureka, said she moved to the bathtub in her house with her dog, Gracie, when an intense storm raced through the area at approximately 4:30 a.m. Saturday. She's only owned the home for 28 days.

Merrick said she wondered what she would see when she opened the door to the outside, but the storm damage turned into what could be called a wonderful discovery.

"I was really scared, but am so impressed with Eureka regarding how quickly everyone was there to help," said Merrick, who spent the rest of the day clearing huge tree parts from off her house.

By 6 a.m., Chief Michael Wiegand and other officers were knocking on doors of residents in the subdivision. He said no human injuries were reported.

Wiegand said by 9 a.m. they had verified through the National Weather Service what had occurred in wasn't just a strong storm. "They did a review of their records from this morning, and we appeared to be the only ones in St. Louis to get this quick, damaging air draft," he said.

What is a Mircoburst?

Meteorologists define a microburst as a small, very intense downdraft that descends to the ground resulting in a strong wind divergence. The size of the event is typically less than 2 miles across. Microbursts are capable of producing winds of more than 100 mph causing significant damage. The life span of a typical microburst is between 5 to 15 minutes.

Mary Parish, another Shaws Garden homeowner on Heyden Drive, said the storm sounded like loud crackling noises. "It was like the noise of a bunch of paper wrestling, and it woke me up."

Parish said their flagpole got completely bent to the ground.

Five electricity poles and grids were knocked out by the storm. Family members came to the Parish home to enjoy an outdoor pizza supper from in the front yard, given that the electricity is still off.

Storm damage from the microburst was contained to the Shaws Garden subdivision, a few trees in the Legends Subdivision and a few of the city's trees near the . The damage didn't seem to move passed Missouri Route 109 South.

Other Eureka residents, such as Eureka-Wildwood Patch reader Erin Egleston, said only their cars were damaged, especially mirrors and doors. She said hers was the one out in the open, and it ironically was the one with the least visible damage.

The National Weather Service issued a new Severe Thunderstorm Watch in nearby Gasconade, Dent, Phelps, Washington, Crawford, Iron and Reynolds counties until midnight.

Showers and storms are likely tonight, some possibly severe, with temperatures falling into the mid 80s by 10 p.m.

To receive breaking news alerts from Eureka-Wildwood Patch regarding developments such as this one, click here.

Come back to Eureka-Wildwood Patch on Sunday for more storm damage coverage.

Julie Brown Patton August 05, 2012 at 02:29 AM
It's a bit of a flat valley through the targeted area we're all describing, in comparison to the ridges and bluffs around it—wonder if that's why it picked up intensity through there. Glad no one was hurt.
Julie Brown Patton August 05, 2012 at 03:36 AM
Electricity just went out in the Fox Creek area in southwestern Wildwood. Ameren says more than 300 homes in the area lost electricity. Restoration could take up to 4 a.m. Are you without?
Michelle August 05, 2012 at 04:06 AM
We are staying @ jellystone camp resort in Eureka and have been without power for quite some time now.
Michelle August 05, 2012 at 04:08 AM
We are just worried about where to go if the storms get really dangerous.
Gina Veesaert August 05, 2012 at 05:56 PM
Got up this morning and found one of my table & 6 chair sets pushed 5 feet into the fence, its cover laying over the fence as if put there to dry, as well as a panel of glass from another table found 10 feet to the opposite side of the table, as if it had blown up and over, but set down on the concrete gently enough to not even chip a corner. Crazy.


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