ST. LOUIS (AP) — Heavy rains brought another round of flooding to the St. Louis region that was already recovering from record rains earlier this week, prompting firefighters to help dozens of people escape the floodwaters.
No injuries were reported from Thursday’s flooding, but the St. Louis Fire Department said on Twitter that it responded to 75 flooding-related emergencies and 60 people were rescued or helped to safety.
Among the rescues, the department said firefighters carried six children to safety from a daycare at Cornerstone Institutional Baptist Church, where 15 children and three adults reportedly were trapped.
The Rev. Paul Sheridan, a longtime priest at St. Louis University High School, a Jesuit college prep school, was among several drivers whose cars became trapped by rising floodwaters Thursday afternoon. He told KSDK-TV that when the water reached his seat, he dashed out of his car.
Sheridan swam to a nearby tree and St. Louis firefighters helped the 77-year-old priest get into a nearby McDonald’s restaurant. He said he kept thinking about people who had lost their homes.
“I’ve never been caught in a storm like that and, no, I can’t walk on water,” Sheridan said, laughing.
The storms that began Thursday afternoon lasted for a few hours and dropped about 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 centimeters) of rain, according to early National Weather Service estimates.
Debbie Boshans, her husband and their cat had been rescued Tuesday from their home due to flooding, and they were working to load belongings onto a trailer Thursday when rain began falling again, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. Their street flooded a second time.
“I can’t believe this happened again,” Boshans’ son-in-law, Kyle Mathes, told the newspaper. “It’s a double whammy.”
Earlier in the week, a storm system dropped more than 12 inches (30 centimeters) in St. Charles County and up to 10 inches (25 centimeters) in other areas on Tuesday and Wednesday. That prompted widespread flooding. Parts of southern Illinois also saw flooding after heavy rains.
Authorities said two men drowned in the earlier St. Louis-area storm.
The weather service said the rain that began early Tuesday was the most prolific in the St. Louis metropolitan area since records began in 1874.
The flooding came the same week that heavy rains caused deadly flooding and massive property damage in central Appalachia.