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1 dead after historic rainfall in St. Louis causes flash flooding emergency

Photography by Keith Getter (all rights reserved)/Getty Images

(ST. LOUIS) -- One person has died after a record amount of rain poured down on the St. Louis area overnight.

St. Louis has recorded 8.56 inches of rainfall since midnight, which surpassed the old record of 6.85 inches set almost 107 years ago on Aug. 20, 1915. In the suburbs northwest of St. Louis, St. Peters received 12.34 inches of rain.

The historic rainfall event caused widespread flash flooding across the region Tuesday morning with some areas getting more than half a foot of rain in just a few hours.

One person was found dead in a car after the water began to recede, St. Louis emergency officials said during a press conference Tuesday afternoon.

Heavy rain continued for St. Louis and its surrounding areas Tuesday morning as thunderstorms sit over Missouri. The rain let up into the afternoon, but more heavy rain with flooding is expected Wednesday morning.

The St. Louis Fire Department said there's been a report of a partial roof collapse and possible natural gas leak at the scene of a storage facility at St. Louis Zoo. Further details were not immediately available.

The fire department also said there were several vehicles trapped in high water with rescue squads responding in small boats.

As of 7 a.m. local time, St. Louis Fire Department confirmed they had responded to approximately 18 homes with flooding and trapped occupants. Six occupants and six dogs have so far been rescued by boat and approximately 15 others were contacted but chose to shelter in place.

The Forest Park-DeBaliviere train station was seen completely submerged in photos, with water rising above the platforms. The floodwaters were so high that the roofs on some of the structures collapsed, emergency officials said.

By noon, another six adults and several pets were rescued from three homes by the St. Louis Fire Department, and water had begun to recede about 6 to 8 inches, according to fire officials.

One of the families was trapped in the attic due to the floodwaters, according to the fire department.

In total, more than 70 rescues took place, Dennis Jackson, chief of the St. Louis Fire Department, said during the news conference. While there has been widespread property damages, the number of injuries remained low, said St. Louis Police Chief Mike Sack.

By 2 p.m., the highways were mostly clear and all bridges were open, Heather Taylor, senior adviser for public safety for the city of St. Louis, told reporters Tuesday afternoon. However, some areas still have high water levels, Sack said.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, who is currently overseas on a trade mission to Germany and the Netherlands, thanked rescue crews and said his lieutenant governor, Mike Kehoe, would act on his behalf.

"I have been briefed on the extreme flooding in the St. Louis area," Parson said in a statement. "We appreciate the rapid and professional response of local first responders and emergency managers involved in flood rescues and other protective measures. We also thank our Missouri State Highway Patrol and MoDOT crews for working alongside local teams."

ABC News' Max Golembo, Melissa Griffin, Will Gretsky and Ahmad Hemingway contributed to this report.

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