Record rainfall triggered flash flooding in parts of St. Louis and other parts of Missouri early Tuesday, officials said, with reports of homes being rescued and cars flooded on roads.
Jim Seoking, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in St. Louis, called the rain “historic,” adding that the city’s daily rainfall record in August 1915 was broken in five hours.
More than seven inches of rain fell in St. Louis. “We’ll probably end up with more than eight inches of rain by the time the rain ends this morning.” Up to 10 inches of rain has been reported in areas northwest of St. Louis, he said.
The torrential rain caused “catastrophic flooding” that flooded neighborhoods, stranded cars and closed parts of Interstates 70, 64 and 55, Mr. Seoking said. He estimated that more than 100 times water has been saved across the region.
City Fire Department said on Twitter that it was responding to multiple reports of vehicles and people trapped in high water.
Flooding flooded roads, closing more than two dozen major roads through the St. Louis area. Including Interstate 170, a beltway that runs north and south, and Interstate 70, which runs east and west across the country, the state Department of Transportation said.
At least four state highways and several other major roads have also been blocked by floods, he said.
In a residential area on the city’s west side, rescuers used boats to reach homes where residents were trapped, pulling out half a dozen people, the St. Louis Fire Department said, while others were in an operation. At least 18 houses took shelter. .
St. Louis was one of more than a dozen residential areas in Missouri and neighboring counties in south-central Illinois that were inundated by heavy overnight rain.
Residents of St. Charles County in Missouri’s east-central region were told to stay at home. A county official told News4A St. Louis TV station, that emergency dispatchers were overwhelmed with water rescue calls, mostly from the St. Peters and O’Fallon areas.
A severe flood warning remained in effect for much of the region until early Tuesday afternoon National Weather Service said.
The rain was expected to leave the area by lunchtime, Mr Seoking said, adding that the water was then expected to move into major creeks and rivers in the area.