Emergency declarations issued after Missouri gets record 9 inches of rain

(The Center Square) – Government leaders issued emergency declarations Tuesday after record single-day rainfall in central and eastern Missouri flooded homes, businesses, highways and forced the rescue of hundreds throughout the region.

Leaders in St. Louis urged citizens to be watchful as the forecast predicted more heavy thunderstorms with a possibility of another two to four inches of rain.

“This is going to get worse before it gets better,” St. Louis County Executive Sam Page said during a briefing from the county’s emergency operations center. “It’s supposed to rain all week and we’ll see what happens.”

The National Weather Service (NWS) in St. Louis recorded 9.04 inches of rainfall in a 24-hour period, breaking the record of 7.02 inches set in 1915 when the Galveston Hurricane passed through the state. NWS recorded 7.68 inches in a six-hour period overnight, exceeding the total average amount of rain for July and August (7.31 inches).

In counties to the west of the St. Louis metropolitan area, the NWS recorded rainfall of 10 and 12 inches in some areas.

Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe, acting on behalf of Gov. Mike Parson, who’s on a trade mission in Europe, signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency in Missouri. It activated the state’s emergency operations plan, giving state agencies the ability to coordinate directly with local governments and jurisdictions.

“State agencies are prepared and ready to provide assistance to Missourians in flood-impacted areas,” Kehoe said in a statement. “Enacting the Missouri State Emergency Operations Plan enables us to work more efficiently and effectively with local partners and ensures affected communities in the St. Louis region will have access to necessary resources and services.”

St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones and Page also issued disaster declarations, required for the state to begin requesting assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

One fatality was confirmed when an automobile was discovered after approximately nine feet of water receded from an area in the City of St. Louis, according to Dennis Jenkerson, Chief of the St. Louis Fire Department. The Missouri State Highway Patrol responded to more than 100 calls for assistance, according to the governor’s office.

Flooding stopped commuter rail service on the route between Illinois and the region around the St. Louis airport. Interstate 70 west of the metropolitan St. Louis area was closed as cars were stranded in water up to the doors or higher.

Photographs on social media from around the St. Louis metropolitan area showed dozens of cars submerged in flood waters as they were parked on lots or streets. A temporary regional evacuation center was opened in St. Louis County and jointly operated with the city.

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