Rainfall breaks 1915 record, causing flash floods, road closures

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The St. Louis region saw a record amount of rain Tuesday, breaking the previous record for the most rainfall ever recorded in a single day.  

According to the National Weather Service in St. Louis, the region saw 7.68 inches of rainfall in just six hours, more than the area normally receives in the months of July and August combined, with much of it occurring overnight and into the morning hours July 26.  In all, over 9 inches of rain fell in a 24-hour period, breaking the previous 7-inch record in August 1915 with the remnants of the Galveston Hurricane. 

Much of the impact was concentrated north of the River Des Peres, throughout mid and north St. Louis County, as well as St. Charles County, all of which saw flash flooding and road closures throughout much of Tuesday. So far, at least one person is reported to have died as a result of the floods, when a car with a body was found submerged under 8 feet of water near University City and St. Louis city, according to St. Louis Fire Chief Jenkerson. 

St. Louis County and St. Louis city officials, with assistance from the American Red Cross, opened a pet-friendly shelter at the Richmond Heights Community Center, 8001 Dave Ave., for people displaced by flooding. Anyone in the region impacted by the weather can go to the shelter, not just county or city residents. St. Louis County Executive Sam Page also declared a state of emergency for the county to make it easier to access federal assistance. 

More rain is forecasted for the area through Thursday. 

“More rain is in the forecast … and 6-inches of water is enough to stall a vehicle and sweep a person off their feet,” Michelle Ryan, director of the county Office of Emergency Management, said at a press conference Tuesday. “Please, turn around. Don’t drown. Don’t drive into those puddles.” 

People impacted by the rainfall and flash flooding are encouraged to catalog the damage with United Way by calling 211. 

“While the water has receded in many areas, the forecast calls for … more … rain. With the fields and the yards already soaked, we know that more rain means more flooding, more property damage,” Page said. “Anyone with damage to their property, home or vehicle should call … United Way so we can catalog and track the damage in St. Louis County.”