Torrential Rains Hit Missouri Causing Flash Floods

September 16, 2008

The remnants of Hurricane Ike brought heavy winds and torrential rains to Missouri on September 15, causing flash floods and raising new concerns about swelling rivers, including parts of the Mississippi and the Missouri.

Some sections of the state got up to 7 inches of rain, accompanied by winds that spiked as high as 60 mph. Trees were down in parts of St. Louis. At one point, about 60,000 customers of AmerenUE were without power in St. Louis city, St. Louis County and Jefferson County. Emergency workers reported several water rescues in the St. Louis area.

Two deaths in the St. Louis area and a third in Columbia were blamed on the weather. Joan Dankner, 49, of Ladue, was struck by a tree limb that fell during the storm. And in University City, a man was found dead behind a home with a flooded backyard. Authorities suspect the elderly man drowned. His name has not been released. The Missouri State Water Patrol said a 21-year-old woman’s body was found on Sunday at Hominy Creek in Columbia after she was likely swept away by rising floodwaters while trying to help another man. Michelle Runkle was found Sunday evening after rescue workers searched for her for more than 16 hours.

Washington, Mo., got 4 1/2 inches of rain, parts of Knox County in northeast Missouri got 5 inches. Wood River, Ill., just across the Mississippi from St. Louis, got nearly 7 inches, as did sections of southwest Missouri, where several roads, including some state highways, were closed.

“We’ve got flash flooding all over the place,” National Weather Service hydrologist Mark Fuchs said.

Also concerning was the impact the rain was having on rivers, especially the Meramec, the Missouri and the Mississippi.

Fuchs said the Meramec was expected to reach major flood stage at Valley Park and Arnold, near St. Louis. The situation at Arnold was especially concerning because the Mississippi was expected to back up there, causing the Meramec to reach an expected crest of 42 feet, 18 feet above flood stage.

“There’s a lot of homes that could be affected,” Fuchs said. “It could be a big problem.”

The Mississippi is expected to crest at 41 feet in St. Louis on Thursday, 11 feet above flood stage, potentially causing problems in an industrial area north of the city, and shutting down the street in front of the Gateway Arch.

Fuchs said the Mississippi is expected to reach moderate flood levels by late this week from Hannibal south to St. Louis, and major flood levels from Ste. Genevieve as far south as Cape Girardeau.

The Missouri will also reach major flood level at St. Charles, potentially closing a section of Highway 94 and threatening some homes. The crest of 36.5 feet _ 11.5 feet above flood stage _ is predicted for Wednesday.

Amtrak also said it had cancelled several trains running through Missouri and that passengers could expect delays on other lines because of flooding.

Doug Cramer, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Springfield, said several rivers in southwest Missouri are also expected to flood, including the Marmaton, the Big Piney and the Little Osage.

Was this article valuable?

Here are more articles you may enjoy.