Waves of violent weather spawning high winds and tornadoes have torn through the St. Louis area, downing trees and power lines and sending gamblers rushing from a casino floor. The storms that began pounding the region around 6:30 last night 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.

Governor 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 last night 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 with some structural damage.

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