Strong storms roared across the St. Louis area Tuesday night, toppling trees and drenching everything but causing no major damage.
Tornado sirens sounded in waves across the region, but by about 10 p.m. the only big weather left was rain.
The storms are part of a weather system moving across the Midwest that began last weekend and will continue through the week, according to the National Weather Service. After Tuesday's storms, the St. Louis area is expected to see scattered showers through the weekend, causing the Mississippi River near St. Louis to rise further.
The St. Louis area could see more thunderstorms on Wednesday, but the risk is higher to the west and north. A National Weather Service map shows the St. Louis area at slight to marginal risk. The storms are capable of producing large hail, wind damage and thunderstorms, with the highest risk in a swath of western Missouri.
Meanwhile, the National Weather Service said a tornado that touched down during Tuesday night's storm had been confirmed and was rated as an EF-1, with maximum sustained winds around 100 mph. There was also a EF-1 tornado further west in Yucatan, Mo., about 45 minutes earlier.
While we weren't able to survey all the areas that may have had tornadoes last night, we did find tornadoes near Yucatan and Augusta MO. Both tornadoes were rated at an EF-1 with maximum estimated winds around 100 mph. Thankfully no one was hurt #mowx pic.twitter.com/kfzqS56fyS— NWS St. Louis (@NWSStLouis) May 22, 2019
Augusta Fire Protection District Assistant Chief Paul Hopen said multiple trees fell across roadways, causing some structural damage around the city.
There were no other tornado touchdowns confirmed by radar in the metro area, Doug Tilly, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said on Wednesday morning.
Gov. Mike Parson declared a state of emergency as the state braced for severe weather through Wednesday that is expected to worsen flooding. Flash floods had occurred in several counties in southwest Missouri by Tuesday, sending four people to the hospital and requiring emergency response to rescue other people, according to the governor's office. The state of emergency prompts state agencies to coordinate with local authorities to monitor river levels and fight flooding.
Tuesday's fast-moving storm arrived in the metro area about the time that thousands of people were gathering downtown for the St. Louis Blues game. The St. Louis Cardinals game was postponed because of the inclement weather and rescheduled as an interleague, day-night doubleheader Wednesday.
The area’s flooding woes are not over, according to the weather service. Heavy rainfall could cause flooding in areas along the Mississippi River, including in the St. Louis area. Scattered showers are expected through the rest of the week.
A flood warning issued Monday morning will continue until further notice, officials said. The National Weather Service advises people in the St. Louis area to never drive cars or other vehicles through flooded areas, as the water could be too deep to safely pass through.
The Mississippi River has been above flood level of 30 feet for weeks, reaching 41.7 feet on May 6, said Patrick Walsh, with the National Weather Service in St. Louis. That's the seventh highest crest in the records. The river had since receded to about 35 feet by Tuesday, but was expected to rise back to 41 feet or higher by Memorial Day, Walsh said.
Authorities in Lincoln County urged evacuation of an area east of Highway 79 from Foley south to the southern section of the Winfield Main Levee. The river is expected to peak at 34.9 feet in the area of Winfield, where a 300-foot wide breach in the Winfield Main Levee remains from flooding earlier this month.
"If you live or work in these areas, you are urged in the strongest possible terms to evacuate," Lincoln County Emergency Management said in an alert. "The breach in the levee means you will experience the rise of the Mississippi River as it happens, with little or no lag time."
Aubuchon Road in the Hazelwood area was closed due to the possibility of a levee breach in the area that could endanger motorists.
On Monday evening, Gov. Mike Parson announced that President Donald Trump had granted a request for a disaster declaration for 13 Missouri counties that were impacted by storm and flooding damage from March 11 to April 16. The affected counties are Andrew, Atchison, Buchanan, Carroll, Chariton, Holt, Mississippi, New Madrid, Pemiscot, Perry, Platte, Ray and Ste. Genevieve.
The declaration grants millions of dollars in federal assistance to these counties to assist with bridge and road repair, as well as making up some of the cost of emergency response during the storms and flooding. It also makes assistance available from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Hazard Mitigation Program, which is designed to reduce long-term risk to people and property due to natural hazards, according to a statement from the governor’s office.
David Carson and Kim Bell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.