Winter hit the metro-east one day early as snow fell and strong winds howled throughout the area Thursday.
The powerful wind caused a tree branch to fall onto a main power line in a residential neighborhood in Fairview Heights.
Fairview Fire Chief Bryan Doyle said two homes on Cedar Drive were impacted by a surge of energy that resulted when the main power line fell and hit other nearby lines.
One house at 22 Cedar Drive had "smoldering in the attic," Doyle said. However, firefighters had to wait until Ameren Illinois crews turned off the power before they could use water.
Another house at 23 Cedar Drive had wiring melt through a copper pipe, according to Doyle. No injuries were reported.
The high winds also caused power outages across the metro-east, according to Ameren Illinois.
"When you deal with high winds, it's not unusual to have outages," Ameren spokesman Leigh Morris said.
Ameren said 3,400 customers lost power Thursday morning.
As of Thursday night, just over 880 Ameren customers in St. Clair County were without power. The number of customers without power was higher in Madison County with more than 2,100.
Morris said the main two reasons for power outages during wind storms are branches and trees coming down on power lines and the lines themselves bouncing until connections break.
Thursday evening gusts hit a top speed of 55 mph. A wind advisory was in effect until 9 p.m.
The weather will improve slightly on Friday, the first official day of winter, as the high temperature is expected to be 36 degrees under sunny skies, according to the National Weather Service. Strong winds are expected to continue through Friday with gusts as high as 29 mph.
The temperature will dip to 19 degrees Friday night, and a warmup is expected Saturday with a high near 45.