ST. LOUIS — Storms with wind gusts up to 80 mph and torrential rains swept across Missouri overnight into Friday morning, leaving more than 150,000 homes and businesses without power and forcing dozens of water rescues.
Damage was widespread. Power outages were common in western Missouri — 107,000 customers of Kansas City Power & Light lost electricity Friday morning, and Independence Power & Light reported 42,000 outages. Downed power lines and trees were so common that many roads were closed. Fort Osage and Independence school districts canceled summer school classes due to outages.
In eastern Missouri, rain was the bigger problem. Up to 6 inches of rain fell in some areas.
Lincoln County, north of the St. Louis area, was especially hard hit. Rain came so fast and furious that the Cuivre River and several creeks flooded.
Lincoln County emergency management coordinator Jerry Daugherty said 31 people had to be rescued from homes and cars. About two dozen people had to evacuate their homes in the Winfield area. No injuries were reported. Shelters were opened in Troy and Winfield.
"In the last 2½ weeks, we've had a tornado and this is the fourth flash flood," Daugherty said. "I ain't had a day off in a long time."
Most maddening to Daugherty were the vehicle water rescues, since many of the drivers ventured past barricades and "Flooded Road" signs.
"They'll move the barricade and drive into the water, then we have to go in and rescue them," he said.
U.S. 61 was closed in both directions at the Cuivre River Bridge in Lincoln County. Dozens of roads were closed by flooding across northern and eastern Missouri.
Gov. Jay Nixon planned visits to Clarksville and Winfield on Saturday.
"The state is working closely with local officials and volunteers to see that they have all the necessary resources to recover and prepare for the possibility of additional flooding," Nixon said in a statement.
The rain also caused standing water on St. Louis interstates, leading to several morning rush-hour accidents. There were no fatalities.
The storm also knocked out power in mid-Missouri, and created flash flooding along several roads in the Columbia area.
Rain over the past three weeks has swamped much of the state. The Mississippi and Missouri rivers were already above flood stage, and the National Weather Service said they're going up again.
In Hannibal, flood gates were installed to protect the Mark Twain historic district downtown. The National Weather Service predicts a crest nearly 7 feet above flood stage on Sunday.
The Mississippi is expected to crest more than 9 feet above flood stage in St. Louis on Tuesday. Meanwhile, the weather service is calling for crests 6 to 9 feet above flood stage from mid-Missouri to St. Charles on the Missouri River.
Associated Press writer Margaret Stafford in Kansas City, Missouri, contributed to this report.