At least 1 killed as record rainfall causes widespread flash flooding in St. Louis area

Jul 26, 2022, 2:30 PM
Floodwaters surround a truck on a street in the St. Louis area on Tuesday morning. (KMOV via CNN)...
Floodwaters surround a truck on a street in the St. Louis area on Tuesday morning. (KMOV via CNN)
(KMOV via CNN)

(CNN) — Torrential and record-breaking rainfall caused widespread flash flooding in the St. Louis area Tuesday morning, killing at least one person, forcing rescues of people trapped in vehicles and homes, and spurring road closures including on part of Interstate 70, officials said.

In St. Louis itself, more than 8 inches of rain had fallen from midnight to 7 a.m. CT — already surpassing the city’s all-time one-day record of 6.85 inches set on August 20, 1915, the National Weather Service said.

In the wider St. Louis area, about 6 to 10 inches of rain fell from midnight to 6 a.m., according to the weather service. More rain was forecast, though it was expected to taper off late in the morning and end by mid-afternoon, the weather service’s office in St. Louis wrote.

One person was found dead in a vehicle that had become stuck in “approximately eight and a half” feet of water in western St. Louis, city Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson said. Authorities checked the vehicle after a caller reported that someone may be inside, and found the body when waters receded, the chief said.

Floodwater surrounded vehicles on other St. Louis-area streets and crept up to apartments and other buildings, videos on social media showed.

A rescuer in St. Louis, kneeling on the top of the roof of one flooded car, handed a child to other rescuers in a boat, video recorded by Victorria Adams from an apartment balcony showed. “My neighbors woke me up to tell me what was going on. Then I walked out to all of this,” Adams told CNN of the floodwaters that made the street outside her apartment a virtual river.

In St. Louis’ Ellendale neighborhood, fire personnel checked about 18 flooded homes, and rescued six people and six dogs by boat, the city fire department said early Tuesday.

Water entered Andrew Schafer’s St. Louis home “like a waterfall,” he told CNN affiliate KMOV.

“I carried all three of my dogs, three kids, and wife out,” Schafer told KMOV.

Emergency calls in St. Louis County were coming in “for multiple people stuck” in floodwaters, the county emergency management office said.

“We urge everybody to avoid travel!” the office posted to Twitter, adding central portions of the county were affected most.

Parts of the St. Louis area’s MetroLink commuter rail system were flooded, and would-be riders should plan for delays of two hours or more, the provider said.

MetroLink’s outdoor Forest Park-DeBaliviere station just north of the city’s zoo was underwater, images from resident Tony Nipert show. He noticed the flooding while walking his dogs, he told CNN.

“It’s currently a river,” he wrote on Twitter about the station Tuesday morning. “I have never seen this in the 4 years I’ve lived here.”

More than 6,000 power outages were reported around 1:50 p.m. in St. Louis County, and more than 1,100 in neighboring St. Charles County, according to

In the St. Louis suburb of Florissant, a fire department crew helped Leisha Waters and her children from their apartment building Tuesday after floodwaters surrounded it, she told CNN.

“I was in the house with the window open to get light because the power went out, and I heard the fireman on a boat yelling,” Waters said. “So me and my kids packed a bag and left.”

Power was out for more than 10,000 homes and businesses in St. Charles and St. Louis counties, most of them in the

Floodwaters also were collecting on the Illinois side of the Mississippi River, including the East St. Louis area, where parts of interstate highways or their ramps were temporarily closed, the weather service said.

Stretch of I-70 covered by water and parts of other interstates also closed

Vehicles were reported submerged or otherwise stranded on flooded streets in various parts of the St. Louis area, the weather service said shortly after 6:30 a.m.

All four interstate highways heading to downtown St. Louis — I-70, I-64, I-55, and I-44 — had at least one closure because of flooding early Tuesday, KMOV reported. Motorists especially were urged to avoid I-70 in the St. Louis area, the state highway patrol said.

A stretch of I-70 was closed in both directions before sunrise in St. Peters, roughly a 30-mile drive northwest of St. Louis.

Jerome Smith found himself stuck on that part of I-70 for three hours as workers tried to clear drains, he told CNN. The highway was covered by water, which was held in by barriers on either side, video he recorded from his vehicle shows.

“You can see there’s cars up there floating around. … It’s just all boxed in — there’s nowhere for the water to go,” Smith says in the video.

Rainfall this intense in the St. Louis area only occurs once every 500 years, on average, according to data from the weather service.

But the climate crisis is pushing these extremes to become more frequent, and is supercharging rainfall around the world. The atmosphere can hold more moisture as temperatures climb, making it even more likely that significant records will be broken. More water vapor in the atmosphere means more moisture available to fall as rain, which leads to higher rainfall rates.

Human-caused fossil fuel emissions have warmed the planet a little more than 1 degree Celsius, on average, with more intense warming over land areas. Scientists are increasingly confident in the role that the climate crisis plays in extreme weather, and have warned that these events will become more intense and more dangerous with every fraction of a degree of warming.

The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

National News

That's as excessive heat watches are in place for 7 million people in California's Central Valley, ...
Haley Brink and Theresa Waldrop, CNN

7 million people are under flood watches while 7 million face extreme heat alerts

A flood watch is in place from Arizona to Wyoming, covering more than 7 million people, with afternoon and evening rain and thunderstorms expected in much of the Southwest on Sunday.
1 day ago
FILE (Getty Images)...
Amir Vera and Claudia Dominguez, CNN

Mass shooting in Phoenix, Arizona, leaves 1 dead, 4 injured after a late-night party, police say

One man is dead and four other people were injured early Sunday after a mass shooting ended at a late-night party in Phoenix, Arizona
1 day ago
FILE - Police responding to a scene....
Associated Press

Police: 2 dead after SUV crashes into N. Carolina restaurant

Police in eastern North Carolina say two customers at a two fast-food restaurant died when a vehicle crashed into the building.
1 day ago
Associated Press

Ex-employee shut down Massachusetts police website over pay dispute, city says

Officials in a Boston suburb are investigating a former city employee who might have shut down the police website during a pay dispute.
1 day ago
Nescopeck Volunteer Fire Company firefighter Harold Baker is comforted at the scene in Berwick, Pa....
Associated Press

1 dead, 17 hurt in crash during fundraiser for fire victims

One person was killed and another 17 people injured when a vehicle struck a crowd gathered at a Pennsylvania bar for a fundraiser for victims of a house fire that killed 10 earlier this month; the man police say was the driver was arrested shortly afterward in the beating death of his mother nearby.
1 day ago
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 21:  The U.S. Capitol Dome is lit in the evening. (Photo by Chip Somodevil...
Associated Press

Police: Man killed himself after ramming US Capitol barrier

A man drove his car into a barricade near the U.S. Capitol early Sunday and then began firing gunshots in the air before fatally shooting himself, police said.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

tips how to quit smoking...

7 Tips How to Quit Smoking | Quitting Smoking Might be One of the Hardest Things You Ever Do but Here’s Where You Can Start

Quitting smoking cigarettes can be incredibly difficult. Here are 7 tips how to quit smoking to help you on your quitting journey.
Photo: Storyblocks...
Blue Stakes of Utah 811

Blue Stakes of Utah 811: 5 Reasons To Call 811 Before You Dig When Working in Your Yard

Call before you dig. Even at home, you could end up with serious injuries or broken utilities just because you didn't call Blue Stakes of Utah 811.
Days of...
Days of '47 Rodeo

TRIVIA: How well do you know your rodeo? Take this quiz before you go to the Days of ’47!

The Utah Days of ’47 Rodeo presented by Zions Bank is a one-of-a-kind Gold Medal Rodeo being held July 20-23, 25 at 7:30 PM. The Days of ’47 Rodeo How well do you know your rodeo trivia? Take the quiz to test your know-all before heading out to the Days of ’47 Rodeo at the […]
cyber security through multi factor authentication setup...
Les Olson IT

How multi factor authentication setup helps companies stay safe

Multi factor authentication (MFA) setup is an important security measure that every company should implement for their workers. It’s also wise to install it for your personal and home accounts.
Lighting Design

Check out these stunning lamps with stained glass shades

Lamps with stained glass shades are statement pieces that are more than simply aesthetic. They also meet a functional requirement: to light up a room.
Address Bar of internet browser shows internet access...

Utah voters 50+ support increased access to Internet

The AARP surveyed Utah voters aged 50 plus about internet access and if they support the expansion of broadband, especially in rural areas currently lacking it.
At least 1 killed as record rainfall causes widespread flash flooding in St. Louis area