A three-day forecast of heavy rain and out-of-season thunderstorms has placed the St. Louis area under a flash flood watch through Monday afternoon. The flood watch began Saturday at noon.
“Even though the calendar says December, Mother Nature doesn’t think so,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Ben Miller. “This is a system more typical of fall or actually spring. There’s going to be some scattered thunderstorms that are going to produce some heavy rain fall.”
Miller said the size and expected impact of the rainfall is “unusual for any time of the year.” Between 5 and 7 inches of rain is predicted to fall in the St. Louis area between Saturday and Monday.
Miller said flooding will be made worse because the heavy-moisture weather system follows on the heels of several wet months. He said “significant flooding” is expected on all area waterways, causing potentially dangerous conditions.
Miller’s advice to travelers: “Do not drive into flood waters. (You can’t tell) what’s going on below the surface even if it’s a place that you’ve driven through before.
“You don’t know how fast the water is moving, you don’t know how deep it is. And you don’t know if the road surface is there underneath the water or not,” Miller added. “We’ve lost several people already this year just in our area because they did just that—they drove into flood waters and it swept them away. It’s just not worth it.”
Miller said about six people in the St. Louis region have died due to floods so far this year. He said floods kill more people in the U.S. each year than hurricanes or tornadoes.
Follow Camille Phillips on Twitter: @cmpcamille.