flooding

Devin Lawson of south St. Louis County works to dry out the boilers in the Wabash, Frisco and Pacific Railroad Association's 12-inch gauge steam engines.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The volunteer crew at the Wabash, Frisco and Pacific Railroad Association in far west St. Louis County is back on track after it was almost derailed by severe floods along the Meramec River late last year.

The ridable miniature railroad in Glencoe opens for the season this Sunday, the first time it will run for the public since the flooding. 

Crews contracted by the Environmental Protection Agency pick up flood debris in Pacific, Mo. in January 2016.
FEMA | provided

Monday is the last day Missourians affected by the mid-winter floods can apply for federal aid.

According to Federal Emergency Management Administration spokesperson, John Mills, FEMA teams have canvassed all the neighborhoods known to have been impacted by the floods and handed out application instructions in English and Spanish.

Lisa Hickman, a 2-1-1 Call Center Supervisor, works for the United Way of Greater St. Louis.
provided by United Way

Here are some numbers you wouldn’t have been able to find two years ago.

Last week, 3,428 people from the St. Louis Metro Area called the United Way’s 2-1-1 hotline, asking for help. One in four requested financial assistance to pay a utility bill. Nearly 500 callers asked for rent assistance, a bed in an emergency shelter, or another housing request. Another 114 needed help filing their taxes.

Crews contracted by the Environmental Protection Agency pick up flood debris in Pacific, Mo. in January 2016.
FEMA | provided

If you’re a Missouri resident that still has water-logged furniture or other flood-damaged debris in your home, you have one week left to take advantage of curbside pickup.

The debris removal program launched by President Barack Obama’s emergency declaration is ending Monday, Feb. 15.

Mike Weber puts down new flooring in front of the bar at the Pacific Brew Haus on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016. The bar and restaurant, which occupies the first floor of the historic McHugh-Dailey building, was damaged by flooding in late December.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

If you rumble up to the top of Blackburn Park, you’ll get a picturesque view of the city of Pacific. You’ll see rows of tidy houses and retail shops settled beside gently rolling hills. At the center of it all is a sturdy brick structure shipped to the 7,000-person city at the conclusion of the 1904 World’s Fair: the McHugh-Dailey Building.

Sandy Evans helps her parents clear out the basement of the house she grew up in on Oak Court in Arnold on Monday afternoon. Floodwater from the Meramec River damaged the basement, which housed a spare bedroom and a bathroom.
file photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 10:45 a.m., Jan. 24 with information from FEMA—Hundreds of thousands of federal dollars are available to Missourians whose homes were damaged in flooding between Dec. 23 and Jan. 9, now that President Barrack Obama has declared 33 counties a major disaster area.

But figuring out whether you qualify for aid can be confusing. So we enlisted the help of Jono Anzalone, who oversees American Red Cross disaster relief for Missouri, to create a FAQ for FEMA applications.

Carolina Hidalgo I St. Louis Public Radio

Many St. Louis-area residents were still enjoying a long weekend and the end of the Christmas holiday when the flood warnings first went out on Dec. 26. 

Over the next days, the Mississippi, Missouri and Meramec rivers rose to dangerous heights at unprecedented speed in some areas. The water spilled over levees, put water treatment plants out of service, and swamped thousands of homes and businesses in riverside communities.

Paul Jackson, 83, says he's been sleeping in his car since the flood swept through his trailer in Arnold, Mo.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

With no money to spare and little idea where to go, Paul Jackson of Arnold has been sleeping in his car since flood waters swept through his home at the end of December.

“My trailer is demolished and my landlady is trying to fix it up,” said Jackson, an 83-year-old veteran of the Vietnam and Korean wars. “I’ve got a 106-year-old mother in a house of 12, and I can’t live with them because they’re all filled up.”

Dave Schatz
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On this week’s edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies are pleased to welcome state Sen. Dave Schatz to the program for the first time.

Schatz is a Republican hailing from rural Franklin County. The Sullivan native’s state Senate district encompasses western St. Louis County and all of Franklin County.

Pallets full of sandbags that stayed dry during the floods sit in the parking lot of City Hall in Valley Park.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

The record floods that swept through the St. Louis region just after Christmas claimed at least two dozen lives in Missouri and Illinois. In four counties near St. Louis, the water damaged 7,100 homes, businesses and public buildings, according to early estimates. As communities clean up and rebuild, attention is turning to how these disasters can be prevented. But the answers are never simple.

The Fenton Water Treatment Plant has been knocked off line due to historic flooding
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

Warnings to avoid contact with flood water. An executive order temporarily waiving Missouri Department of Natural Resources regulations. Periodic updates on the millions of gallons of raw sewage flowing into the Meramec River due to shuttered wastewater treatment plants.

St. Louis Public Radio referenced these announcements as they happened in the course of reporting on the human and economic toll wrought by the record-high waters. But what impact, if any, do those warnings and waivers have on the environment?

National Guard members stand at a news conference to discuss "Operation Recovery" at the Jefferson Barracks Division in St. Louis.
Caleb Codding for St. Louis Public Radio

Floodwaters in the St. Louis region have receded, leaving behind an estimated 500,000 tons of debris. Now what?

At a news conference Wednesday, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon outlined “Operation Recovery," a cleanup effort that will be coordinated by the National Guard, with Lt. Col. Grace Link, a civil engineer, in charge. Contracted trucks will help clear debris in flood-damaged areas throughout the St. Louis region, Nixon said.

Southbound lanes of US 67 across the Clark Bridge are expected to remain closed for at least the first part of the work week.
Flickr | Jon K.

Updated Monday, Jan. 4 at 3:00  p.m. with information about sewer plants

The Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District says one of its flood-damaged water treatment plants should be fully functional by next week.

The Grand Glaize plant in Valley Park went offline Christmas Eve after the Meramec River breached a sandbag levee MSD built around the facility. The utility said Monday that the plant was pumping water again, and partial wastewater treatment would resume by the end of this week. The plant is expected to be back at full capacity next week.

 The utility says it does not know when it will be able to return a second wastewater treatment plant in Fenton to service. That means six million gallons of untreated sewage will continue to flow into the Meramec. The facility was under six feet of water.

It wasn’t that long ago that South Central Avenue in Eureka was swamped by historic flooding. Businesses along the commercial thoroughfare had to fight off several feet of water, which several damaged some longtime establishments.

Volunteers clean-up Odell's Irish Pub and Ale House in Eureka, Mo. on Sat. Jan. 2, 2016. Owner Jerry O'Dell says he hopes to reopen in time for St. Patrick's Day.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

After a formal request from Gov. Jay Nixon Saturday morning, President Barack Obama has signed an emergency declaration for the state of Missouri.              

Nixon asked for the declaration to get federal help removing flood debris.

Mia Fernandez, 9, and her brother Mason, 6, help clean up inventory at an ACE Hardware in Eureka with their father, Danny.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

Floodwaters are continuing to recede along the Meramec River, and emergency workers are taking stock of the damage. According to early estimates, as many as 1,000 structures had water damage in St. Louis County over the past few days. Personnel from the Department of Public Works, however, cautioned that the number will likely change.  

The flooding Meramec River is taking a toll in Pacific.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Update 11:10 a.m. Friday - According to the Missouri Department of Transportation, as of 10 a.m. Friday, "Both directions of Interstate 44 in St. Louis County are now open between mile marker 253 and 274. Interstate 55 at the St. Louis County and Jefferson County line opened earlier today. All interstates in Missouri are now open to traffic.

"In the St. Louis area, Route 21 and Route 30 remain closed at the Meramec River and Route 141 is still closed at I-44 and at Route 21."

Jodi Howard holds her daughter Brooklyn, 3, as they survey flood damage in Pacific.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

The flooding Meramec River crested early Wednesday in Pacific — inundating houses, half of the historic downtown district and sweeping through a mobile home park. Residents evacuated to hotels, friends’ houses and a Red Cross shelter set up in a senior center. Much of the water remained the morning of New Year's Eve and isn’t expected to recede to normal levels until early Saturday, according to the National Weather Service.

Mary Delach Leonard | St. Louis Public Radio

As Interstates 55 and 44 remain closed, area residents need alternate routes. Missouri drivers should check www.modot.org, and Illinois drivers should go to www.idot.illinois.gov/home/Comm/emergency-road-closures.

Volunteer opportunities are being coordinated through STLVolunteer.org

Check the Army Corps of Engineers website for river levels.

The historic Opera House of Pacific sits among dozens of other homes and business on the south side of the city flooded by the Meramec River. Longtime residents say this is the worst flooding they’ve ever seen.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 9:57 a.m.  - More than a dozen people have died as a result of historic flooding throughout Missouri. And the state isn’t out of the woods just yet.

In a briefing with local officials in Franklin County, Gov. Jay Nixon said that 14 people have died as a result of flooding. Most of the deaths occurred after people tried to drive through floodwater.

“If we could say anything over and over and over – it’s don’t drive into water,” Nixon said.

Pages