Severe storms spawn tornado, high winds in eastern Missouri

ST. LOUIS - Severe storms moved into eastern Missouri Wednesday night, spawning at least one tornado, damaging homes and schools and leaving dozens of families without a place to stay.

In the St. Louis suburb of Hazelwood, a tornado touched down. The mayor told KSDK roofs were blown off of at least 24 homes.

PHOTOS | Hazlewood tornado damage

In Franklin County, five people were injured when high winds moved into a mobile home park just northeast of Sullivan, Mo., according to KSDK, the NBC affiliate in St. Louis.

Other minor injuries were reported in Hazlewood, though there had been no reports of fatalities.

Several schools in the St. Louis area were closed Thursday because of damage from the storms.

KMOX Radio reports that all Hazelwood schools were shut down after the storm that struck the community Wednesday night. Power outages also closed Cross Keys Middle School and Wedgewood Elementary in the neighboring Ferguson-Florissant School District.

And in west St. Louis County, high winds took off portions of the roof at Shenandoah Elementary School in the Parkway School District, forcing it to close.

There is no word yet on when the schools will reopen.

Mo. Gov. Jay Nixon has declared a state of emergency in the state and will tour damaged areas Thursday.

"This was a strong system of storms that caused damage to communities in several areas of our state," Gov. Nixon said. "We will continue to work closely with local officials to assess damages and provide any needed assistance."

Everyone inside Lambert-St. Louis International Airport was moved to tornado shelters and lower levels, and all flights were briefly delayed during the storm, according to KSDK. The airport resumed operations late Wednesday night.

Strong thunderstorms and straight line winds also caused damage and power outages in southern Missouri.

Another tornado touched down Wednesday night in north-central Arkansas, damaging at least 33 homes and leaving three people injured in Van Buren County.

To the north icy weather left thousands without power and prompted Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton to call out the state National Guard to aid residents as the state braced for another storm system that threatened to dump several inches of wet snow Thursday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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