Monday, August 8, 2022

Watch: Historic rains inundate St. Louis area, prompting flood rescues

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St. Louis smashed his rain record of all time 8.70 inches of CDT was observed for each day through 8 a.m. CDT, with most of this rain falling within a five hour time frame. That broke the previous record set 107 years ago, when moisture from the remnants of the 1915 Galveston hurricane hit the city on August 20 of this year.

A historic and life-threatening flash flood event occurred in the St. Louis metro area early Tuesday, leaving motorists stranded in feet of water and causing significant disruption to travel and daily routines.

Elsewhere, some precipitation totals in excess of a foot were reported as downpours continued to batter the area.

Local officials were asking people to avoid travelas flood water has clogged roads throughout the region. Video material showed floodwaters inundating portions of Interstate 70, forcing the closure of that freeway in both directions ahead of the normally busy morning commute. Closures were also reported on Interstates 64 and 270 and US Route 61.

That St Louis Fire Department responded to about 18 homes that experienced significant flooding with trapped residents. Six people and six dogs were rescued by boat, while 15 other people chose to seek shelter on the spot. Power outages had dwarfed 20,000 in the area as of 10 a.m. CDT Tuesday.

St. Louis resident Tony Nipert shared photos from the city’s Skinker DeBaliviere neighborhood, located northwest of downtown. Nipert told AccuWeather that he’s never seen flooding like this in the four years he’s lived in the area. The nearby Forest Park DeBaliviere Metrolink station has been completely flooded, according to images he shared on Twitter.

“I woke up this morning to let my dogs out and could see them [train] Footsteps poured out of my sunroom like a river,” he told AccuWeather.

“This is not normal,” he noted on his Twitter account.

In nearby Saint Charles, Mo., city officials said a pedestrian bridge collapsed due to erosion from the heavy rain.

At one point Tuesday morning, nearly 1 million people were in the densely populated metro area within a flash flood emergency — a National Weather Service warning withheld only for the most extreme flooding events.

Severe flooding also hit St. Louis Lambert International Airport stayed in operation starting at 8 p.m. CDT Tuesday. The city is now iconic archway closed due to record rainfall on Tuesday.

“The big point is that flash floods don’t end when the rain stops,” said AccuWeather meteorologist Dean DeVore.

AccuWeather forecasters say downpours will continue across the region through Tuesday afternoon, with additional bouts of intense rain expected to keep flash flood risks high from Kansas and Missouri to Virginia later in the week.

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