Mehlville emergency responders are closely monitoring weather reports in anticipation of the remnants of Tropical Storm Isaac. The storm is expected to hit the St. Louis area late Friday and Saturday.
National Weather Service officials predict 3 to 5 inches of rainfall when Isaac arrives locally. In South County, the major hazards expected due to storm conditions are flooding and road closures.
“Our big issues are going to be flash floods and people getting stranded in the area,” said Deputy Chief Dan LaFata with the Mehlville Fire Protection District. The district has a water rescue team and will be making sure all equipment is in service in case of an emergency.
LaFata advised residents to stock up on supplies and avoid driving in standing water. It only takes a few inches to get stuck, he said.
Areas with creeks that feed into the Mississippi and Meramec Rivers, such as Gravois Creek, are especially at risk, LaFata said.
Jim Kramper, of the National Weather Service's St. Louis office, said the speed with which the Isaac-related rainfall comes is key. He said they now have a better handle on Isaac with it being on land for a number of hours.
Kramper added that the storm is moving slower than anticipated. They currently expect Isaac to reach center Southwest Missouri (Springfield area) by late Friday. He said the heaviest rainfall from tropical storms occurs in the central part of the track and to the east of the track, so monitoring the direction the storm takes once it hits Missouri may adjust plans.
"Having 5 inches of rainfall over 24 hours is not so bad," Kramper said. "Having that same amount in 12 hours prompts substantial flooding in urban areas."