St. Louis — The heat was down and the skies were clear, but Kim Beck could only laugh when asked Saturday whether things were slowing down at the Salvation Army shelter she manages in suburban St. Louis.
"Far from it," Beck said. "We had 95 people spend the night last night. It may not be hot, but they don't have power. Here they get the creature comforts - they can eat, they can watch TV, some are even doing their laundry."
The shelter was just one spot where the city's weather-battered residents found a haven as the region began recovering from a week that brought 100-degree heat and one of the worst storms ever to hit the area, followed by another big thunderstorm Friday.
The forecast was free of any immediate problematic weather. Weekend highs were expected to be in the 80s with little humidity.
Still, it was expected to be early next week before power was restored. About half the city was still without electricity Saturday, and about 410,000 homes and businesses remained dark in the St. Louis area.
Ameren Corp. was being helped by utility employees from other companies, working around the clock to get the lights back on. About 3,000 workers were fanning throughout the area.
Emergency rooms were swamped with those who rely on power for oxygen and other medical needs.
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services and the Missouri Hospital Assn. put out a call for registered nurses and trained nursing assistants to volunteer for relief efforts. The most pressing needs were for intensive care, pediatric, emergency and dialysis nurses, the department said.