St Louis, Missouri flash floods: Emergency issued as city records historic rainfall
St Louis witnessed a record daily rainfall overnight
A Flash Flood Emergency was issued through 9:30 a.m. CDT
Rainfall of between 6 to 10 inches (15 to 25 centimeters) was reported overnight
St Louis witnessed a record daily rainfall overnight, which caused widespread flash flooding early Tuesday, closing multiple roadways and prompting rescues from vehicles stranded by high waters, authorities said. A Flash Flood Emergency was issued through 9:30 a.m. CDT.
Rainfall of between 6 to 10 inches (15 to 25 centimeters) was reported overnight, the National Weather Service said on Twitter. St. Louis recorded more than 7 inches of rainfall Tuesday morning, surpassing the record of 6.85 inches from Aug. 20, 1915, the weather service said.
"This is a PARTICULARLY DANGEROUS SITUATION. SEEK HIGHER GROUND NOW!" the National Weather Service wrote in their warning.
The city's fire department reported a partial roof collapse and possible natural gas leak at St Louis Zoo. It further added that several vehicles were trapped in high water with Rescue Squads responding in small boats.
By 8 AM, 8.3 inches of rain had fallen at Lambert Airport. Forecasters expected Tuesday's rain to wrap up by late-morning, but more storms were likely through the rest of the week.
A section of Interstate 70 was closed in St. Peters, and many other roadways were flooded. Some vehicles were completely submerged.
In the city of St. Louis, the fire department rescued people from 18 homes in the same general area after floodwaters made it into houses. The fire department said on Twitter that six people and six dogs were rescued by boat, while 15 others declined to leave their homes.
National Weather Service meteorologist Marshall Pfahler said a storm that moved into the St. Louis area around midnight that stalled and kept pouring water over the same relatively narrow band.
“You have this swath of up to 10-inch amounts, and a county or two south they had a trace or even less,” Pfahler said.
The remarkable rainfall followed a period of extended drought in the region. The ground was rock-hard before Tuesday morning and Pfahler said that may have played a small role in the flash flooding. A bigger factor, he said, was that the storm hit a metro area with a lot of concrete and asphalt, rather than grassy areas that could absorb the moisture more readily.
While the St. Louis region got the worst of it, other places were soaked, too. The central Missouri town of Mexico received more than 6 inches of rain. Similar rainfall totals were reported in parts of southern Illinois.