Climate Change and Flooding in St. Louis
The record-breaking rainfall in St. Louis last week caused flooding in many areas of the city. Floodwaters reached people’s homes, trapping many residents inside. The storms lasted for 24 hours, and on July 26, Missouri Governor Mark Parson declared a state of emergency. What was the cause of the flooding? Several factors, including human-caused climate change, were blamed. In this article, we’ll look at some of the possible causes.
St. Louis flooding caused by record rainfall
In the wake of record rainfall, widespread flooding has plagued the St. Louis area. Floodwaters closed multiple roads and caused rescues from homes and vehicles. The massive downpour, which started around midnight and ended around 7 a.m., brought about eight inches of rain to St. Louis – which broke the city’s record for one day. The previous record for the city is six inches in August 1915.
In the aftermath of the flood, firefighters rescued dozens of people, including pets and humans. One person, rescued from a submerged vehicle, died. More than 70 residents and their pets were rescued, and firefighters in St. Peters rescued a dog from a flooded building. More than 70 people were rescued by the fire department, and one person died after being dragged from the wrecked vehicle.
After the floods flooded the city, the County Executive in St. Louis declared a state of emergency and asked the federal government for emergency aid. The Missouri governor had been out of the country for the weekend, so the Lt. Governor had to act quickly to ensure the safety of residents. The extreme rainfall is linked to warming caused by human-caused climate change. More extreme rain events have been observed in the Midwest over the past century, and the National Climate Assessment predicts that these events will continue to increase.
More than 12 inches of rain have fallen in St. Louis, with some areas receiving up to 12 inches. Numerous drivers were rescued from flooded roadways. The St. Louis Fire Department and KSDK reported that two reporters were trapped inside their homes. Thankfully, the first responders were able to remove them safely. In addition to flooding in neighborhoods, several interstates were shut down, with major problems along Interstate 70. Flooding has forced emergency workers to close the Gateway Arch.
Floodwaters made it into homes
By Tuesday morning, the city of St. Louis recorded 8.06 inches of rain, breaking its previous daily record of 6.85 inches set on Aug. 20, 1915. Floodwaters forced the evacuation of hundreds of homes and forced many people to take shelter in place. Hundreds of vehicles were submerged on flooded roadways, and firefighters rescued more than a hundred people. A majority of those rescued were in automobiles.
Residents in the area said they had never seen flooding this bad on their block. Some houses had water as high as the steps outside the front doors. One neighbor reported the floodwaters had reached the rafters of his basement. Some residents said they were scared and were grateful to be safely evacuated. The city’s public safety officials and local news networks urged residents to evacuate. Residents reported a number of casualties and extensive damage.
The St. Louis metro area was hit by flash flooding and record-setting rainfall Monday. Multiple roadways were closed, and rescue efforts were needed to free stranded people and save homes. The massive downpour left widespread damage, including damage to homes and cars. The storm dumped more than nine inches of rain in St. Louis by Tuesday afternoon, breaking the previous city record of 6.85 inches in August 1915.
Residents trapped in their homes
Water piled up on some streets in St. Louis on Tuesday morning. Some cars were flooded up to the door and roof, but the floodwaters receded. The Fire Department and local rescue teams were busy rescuing trapped residents. The city recorded 8.06 inches of rainfall early Tuesday morning, surpassing the previous record of 6.85 inches set on August 20, 1915. Firefighters rescued at least six people and six dogs from their homes. Another 15 people chose to stay put.
A local reporter from KMOV shared images of the flooded streets and pleaded with residents to remain calm and avoid panic. A flooded Metrolink station was pictured with half of its steps and information boards underwater. Interstate 70 was rendered impassible by the flooding. In addition, the city’s airport is not functioning, so residents have to be patient as rescue workers work to bring them out.
The floods poured over eight inches of rain in St. Louis on Tuesday, forcing road closures and stranded motorists to evacuate. One person was killed as a result of the flooding, though the cause of death has not yet been released. The National Weather Service says the flooding in the city is “life-threatening.” Several cars were partially submerged in water during the storm, and public safety officials found a dead body in one of the vehicles.
In addition to the dozens of rescues, floodwater closed all four interstates leading to downtown St. Louis and caused massive delays for travel. The Missouri Highway Patrol and local officials urged people to stay home and shelter in place. The Missouri State Highway Patrol also urged residents not to travel and set up a temporary shelter for displaced residents. During the storm, residents should stay away from the major roadways and interstates.
The Missouri Lt. Governor Mike Parson, who was out of the country on Tuesday, declared a state of emergency in St. Louis and asked for federal aid to help residents evacuate. Despite the flooding, dozens of people have sought shelter and other help in the area. The National Weather Service office reported that extreme precipitation events have increased over the past century, tying them to human-caused climate change. In the Midwest, heaviest rainfall increased by 42 percent between 1901 and 2016, and the National Climate Assessment predicts additional increases as the climate continues to warm.
Human-caused climate change blamed for flooding
Floods in Saint-Louis, Missouri, in 2000 and 1998 were the result of heavy rains. The city was flooded, and thousands of people were displaced, and thousands more were ill from unsanitary conditions. Recurring flooding is detrimental to the city’s economy and educational activities. Floodwaters invade homes, schools, and limit people’s mobility. In 2014, the United Nations’ Habitat agency named Saint-Louis as the city with the greatest threat from rising sea levels in Africa. In fact, climate change and a failed 2004 tidal canal project are likely to be blamed for these flooding problems.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently released a report on climate change and its effects. The report predicts more floods and more intense heatwaves in the future. The report also says more people will die from global warming and other diseases, air pollution, and starvation due to increased temperatures. Because climate change is the primary cause of extreme weather, this is a sign that the Earth’s climate is getting warmer and more volatile.
The rain was so intense that the river levels in the Meramec Basin and the Mississippi River were nearly at record levels. The storms were associated with El Nino and global warming. In addition, the flooding was concentrated in areas of intense development, which magnifies floods and shortens their duration. Thousands of buildings were damaged and two interstate highways were closed during the flood. Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Sewer District’s plants were overwhelmed by sewage and debris.
Researchers compared the flooding that occurred in the region with the record flood in 1982 during an El Nino-fueled storm. The difference in upstream flows was expected to result in higher water levels downstream. However, the actual levels of the water were lower than the predicted. That is why climate scientists blamed human-caused climate change for the flooding in St. Louis. If it was a natural disaster, then the flooding would not have been so severe.