A person was found dead in a vehicle stuck in “about 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 someone might be inside and found the body when the waters receded, the chief said.
Floodwaters surrounded vehicles on other streets in the St. Louis area and crept into apartments and other buildings, videos on social media showed.
A lifeguard in St. Louis, kneeling on the roof of a flooded car, handed a child over 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 came out for the whole thing,” Adams told CNN of the floodwaters that turned the street outside his apartment into a virtual river.
“I took my three dogs, my three children and my wife,” Schafer told KMOV.
Emergency calls in St. Louis County were coming in “for multiple people trapped” in floodwaters, the county’s emergency management office said.
“We urge everyone to avoid travel!” the office posted on Twitter, adding that central parts of the county were the most affected.
MetroLink’s Forest Park-DeBaliviere outdoor station, just north of the city zoo, was underwater, as seen in images by resident Tony Nipert. He noticed the flooding while walking his dogs, he told CNN.
Heather Taylor, director of public safety for St. Louis, said highways were mostly clear Tuesday afternoon and all bridges over the Peres River are currently open.
“As we hope the worst is behind us, we want to keep the public informed,” she said. “The freeways are mostly clear. Avoid the freeways if you can. It’s critical in this rain… Parts of Hwy 70 I believe are also all open, but they could be closed again due to precipitation. additional.”
In the Saint-Louis suburb of Florissant, a team of firefighters helped Leisha Waters and her children out of their building on Tuesday after floodwaters surrounded it, she told CNN.
“I was in the house with the window open to get some light because the power was out, and I heard the firefighter screaming on a boat,” Waters said. “So me and my kids packed up 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 accumulated on the Illinois side of the Mississippi River, including in the East St. Louis area, where portions of interstate highways or their ramps were temporarily closed, the Weather Service said.
St. Louis Fire Chief Dennis M. Jenkerson said Tuesday that firefighters “performed approximately 70 different rescue operations of civilians in the area. sleeping areas.”
The chief said that although the water has receded “a bit, we now see that the weight of the water has caused problems with the buildings”.
“We have a partial roof collapse. Some of the vacant buildings are also suffering from the stress of this water,” he said. “There was a significant area around…McCausland and the southwest where we had about 14 to 15 homes that had significant flooding.”
Section of I-70 covered in water and parts of other highways also closed
A stretch of I-70 was closed in both directions before sunrise in St. Peters, about a 30-mile drive northwest of St. Louis.
Jerome Smith was stranded on this part of I-70 for three hours as workers attempted to clear the sewers, he told CNN. The highway was covered in water, which was held back by barriers on either side, as shown in video he recorded from his vehicle.
“You can see there are cars up there floating around. … Everything is locked up – there’s nowhere for water to go,” Smith says in the video.
Such intense rainfall in the St. Louis area only occurs once every 500 years, on average, according to weather service data.
CNN’s Melissa Alonso, Judson Jones, Dave Hennen, Angela Fritz and Raja Razek contributed to this report.