Bodies were still being located on Thursday after deadly flash floods hit across 4 states. storms continue to wreak havoc across Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, and Virginia.
The National Weather Service said the torrential rain that began on Tuesday was the most measured since 1874 when records began.
The storm front remains stalled through the weekend. And flooding is still possible from the Central Plains to the Appalachians.
Deadly flash floods hit St Louis
By Thursday 2 bodies had been pulled from flood water in St Louis. The Illinois side and the Missouri side of the city were impacted. Dozens of people were trapped for hours when the water rose in the streets. Images of the flooding show abandoned vehicles and homes partially underwater.
The Missouri State Emergency Management Agency posted that people driving on flooded roads account for more than half of the deaths in the state.
Residents were warned to avoid traveling. And they are discouraged from driving through the floodwaters which are starting to recede.
Officials are still working to assess the full scope of all the damage.
Chief Dennis M. Jenkerson of the St. Louis Fire Department said that the flash flood created about “8.5 feet of water in the area”.
Kentucky floods devastate
Another eight bodies were found in Kentucky. This makes at least 16 dead in the state. Flash floods and mudslides covered the swamp regions of Kentucky. The state was hit especially hard. And hundreds of homes were washed away in the flooding.
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear confirmed that the death toll has risen to 16, and more bodies may be found.
Brandon Bonds, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service said that the hardest hit areas in eastern Kentucky received between 8 and 10 1/2 inches over a two-day period ending Thursday.
Family loses 4 children
Amber Smith and Riley Noble lost all four of their children. Maddison 8, Riley Jr., 6, Nevaeh, 4-, and 18-month-old Chance perished when they were swept away in the floodwaters in Knott County, Kentucky.
The family’s home like many others was submerged in the water.
“They got on the roof and the entire underneath washed out with them and the children,” Brittany Trejo, the children’s cousin told the Herald Leader.
“They managed to get to a tree and … held the children a few hours before a big tide came and washed them all away at the same time,” she said.
“The mother and father were stranded in the tree for 8 hours before anyone got there to help.”
Trejo set up a GoFundMe to help pay for the children’s funeral expenses.
People were rescued by boat in many parts of Kentucky
Search continues for those still missing
Gov. Beshear said Friday that “I expect that number to more than double, probably even throughout today.”
“The tough news is 16 confirmed fatalities now, and folks that’s going to get a lot higher,” the governor said during a midday briefing.
The National Guard and search and rescue teams are scouring 4 counties for missing people.
The record floods wiped out entire communities in some of the poorest places in the US have been wiped off the map.
“We’ve still got a lot of searching to do,” said Jerry Stacy, the emergency management director in Perry County. “We still have missing people.”
Cell phones and electricity have been largely wiped out in the devastated areas. It has been difficult to even determine who is missing.
President Biden declared a federal disaster to direct relief money to more than a dozen Kentucky counties.