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      Storms leave thousands without power

      Stoplights in Hallsville go dark after a power outage linked to Sunday afternoon's storms.

      Sunday afternoon??s storms knocked out power for thousands of Ameren Missouri customers between Hallsville and Mexico.

      Ameren Missouri??s outage maps showed close to 3,000 people without power at one point, with most of the outages concentrated in southern Randolph, northeastern Boone and western Audrain counties. The storms left much of Hallsville without power for most of Sunday afternoon. When KRCG 13 arrived, residents said they had already been without power for more than an hour. Bad Citizen Coffee owner Mark Abbott said both the scale and the length of the outage was unusual for that town.

      ??We??ve lost power before, but this level of outage is kind of surprising,?? he said.

      Abbott said the food in his bar??s refrigerator was still safe, though he was afraid what might happen if the power outage lasted longer. A Casey??s General Store across the street closed because of the outage, its pumps rendered inoperable.

      Residents carried on without power as well as they could. At Abbott??s bar, customers sat around and talked. Abbott instructed a co-worker to keep a case of soda unopened as long as possible to keep the cans cool. Down the street, Terri Ramirez said her grandchildren were at her house when the power went out. She passed the time by reading to them, something she said everyone enjoyed.

      ??You can??t do anything with the power out, so just open the curtains up, got a book out, sat down and started reading,?? she said.

      At Hallsville Baptist Church, the AWANA Club moved its pizza dinner from the basement to a first-floor room to take advantage of natural light. A finance class had to be rescheduled for the following week. Stephanie Anderson said the club was largely able to proceed as planned.

      ??We can still get together, we can still have fun and we can still worship God,?? she said.

      Ameren said it was able to restore power to some customers by rerouting power from elsewhere on the grid. The company said the transformer at fault in Hallsville was in a heavily wooded area and was hard for crews to reach quickly.