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A Guide to the Geography and Climate of St. Louis, MO

03282St. Louis, an independent city in the state of Missouri, has a land area of 62 square miles and a water area of 4.1 square miles, bringing the total area of the city to around 66 square miles. It is seated on hills and terraces that are 100 to 200 feet above the level of Mississippi river’s western banks. Majority of St. Louis comprises of rolling prairies, low hills, shallow valleys, and wide flood plains which are formed by both the Mississippi and the Missouri rivers. At the downtown south area, you will find several sinkholes and caves, of which most are sealed. There are also several springs by the riverfront.

The city used to have mining activities for coal, brick clay, and ore. It is also rich in St. Louis limestone, which is used as natural stone surface and construction rubble material. The sanitary and storm water systems in St. Louis rely highly on the River De Peres, which is the only river within city limits that has not been put underground completely. The Great Flood of 1993 occurred on the lower section of this river.

Cityscape & Neighborhoods

The skyline view of the city is highlighted by the 630-foot Gateway Arch along with a few skyscrapers. There are 79 neighborhoods in St. Louis city. Structural homes and business establishments include massive stone buildings, working-class bungalows, and lofts, depending on which neighborhood you are in. Among the most popular and well-visited neighborhoods include:

  • Benton Park
  • Carondelet
  • Downtown
  • Dutchtown South
  • Grand Center
  • Lafayette Square, and more.

City Climate

St. Louis is affected by two climate zones: humid continental and humid subtropical. This means summers are hot and humid and winters are cold. Residents there may experience both the cold wind coming from the Arctic and the hot and humid tropical air coming from the Gulf of Mexico. There are four seasons in the city:

Spring (March through May) – The wettest season which often includes severe tornadoes and winter storms.

Summer (May through September) – It is often hot and humid with temperatures reaching 80 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit at the most.

Fall (October through December) – This usually has mild and sunny weather with the occasional heavy rainfall.

Winter (December through February) – It often has at least one major snowstorm but the season can be quite brisk.

Flora and Fauna

The prairie and forest area of St. Louis used to be maintained by the Native Americans prior to the city’s founding. The largest forest are that consist of native trees can be found in Forest Park. The most common trees found in the whole of St. Louis are:

  • Oak
  • Maple
  • Hickory
  • Eastern Redbud
  • Serviceberry
  • Dogwood
  • American Sycamore

St. Louis is also home to a wide range of animals and insects:

  • Coyotes
  • Eastern Gray Squirrel
  • Cottontail Rabbit
  • American Toad
  • Ladybugs

It is quite noticeable that most patios and windows are screened in the area. This is because of the abundance of mosquitoes and flies. Bees are also present but their population has declined these past few years. Migratory birds can often be seen in St. Louis because it is located in the Mississippi Flyway. Some of the bird species, local and migratory, found in this city include:

  • Canada Goose
  • Mallard Duck
  • Great Egret
  • Great Blue Heron
  • Gulls
  • Bald Eagle
  • Eurasian Tree Sparrow

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