Published On: Tue, Jul 26th, 2022

At least 1 person is dead in historic St. Louis rainfall, as cars are stranded on flooded streets and residents flee homes

At least one person was killed when historic rainfall dumped more than 8 inches of rain on St. Louis.

Thunderstorms in Missouri developed overnight Monday through Tuesday morning, leading to widespread flash flooding that left St. Louis motorists stranded and residents fleeing their homes.

Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson said one person had died after being pulled from a submerged vehicle. The person’s identity was withheld until family members could be notified, he said at a news conference Tuesday afternoon.

About 70 people had to be rescued or assisted as rain drenched the city, according to the fire chief.

“We’ve had a tremendous amount of cars that have been door deep and also roof deep in some of these low lying areas,” he said.

In some areas, the water has started to recede, Jenkerson said. Firefighters are now assessing the damaged buildings.

“Now we’re seeing the weight of the water cause some issues with buildings. We’re having some partial roof collapse,” he said. “Some of the vacant buildings are also suffering from the stress of this water.”

The city had seen 8.06 inches of rainfall by early Tuesday morning, surpassing the previous daily rainfall record of 6.85 inches on Aug. 20, 1915, according to the National Weather Service of St. Louis.

At least six people and six dogs had to be rescued by boat from flooded homes, the St. Louis Fire Department said. Firefighters responded to about 18 homes due to substantial flooding. More than a dozen people chose to shelter in place, it tweeted.

Numerous roads were also closed in the St. Louis metropolitan area, including parts of Interstate 70. Video showed cars stranded on the flooded interstate and firefighters rescuing drivers from their vehicles.

The rain prompted a flash flood emergency for St. Louis County and St. Louis City. Flash flood warnings continued for St. Louis, Chesterfield, and University City through 9:30 a.m. local time, according to the weather service.

O’Fallon, St. Charles and St. Peters were under a flash flood warning until 12:15 p.m. local time.

In nearby Maryland Heights, residents were urged to avoid traveling during the storm.

“Many roadways in our area are flooded and closed. Other roadways are at a standstill due [to] heavy traffic since drivers are trying to figure out alternative routes,” the Maryland Heights Police Department tweeted.

A state of emergency was declared, allowing state agencies to work directly with local jurisdictions.

“With record rainfall impacting the St. Louis region and the potential for additional rain and isolated thunderstorms, we want to ensure that our communities have every resource available to respond and protect Missourians,” Gov. Mike Parson said in a statement.

“We urge Missourians to follow the direction of local authorities and emergency managers, never drive in floodwaters, and always use common sense to prevent injury.”

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