---- — National Weather Service has issued flash flood warning across southern Effingham County and into portions of Clay, Fayette and Jasper counties until this evening, with some areas already reporting flooding.
According to National Weather Service in Lincoln, Emergency Management officials reported at 11:46 a.m. water entering homes in Xenia and several roads closed in Flora due to high waters.
Thunderstorms with very heavy rainfall are forecasted across the warned area. It is estimated up to 4 inches of rain has already fallen this morning over southern Clay County and up to 2 inches of rain over southern Effingham County. More heavy rain was forecasted this afternoon with 1 to 2 inches estimated per hour.
Runoff from the excessive rainfall will cause flash flooding to occur in Flora, Bible Grove, Iola, Louisville and Xenia in Clay County and Altamont, Dieterich, Watson and Edgewood in Effingham County, as well as Ste. Marie, West Liberty and Sailor Springs in Jasper County.
Officials warn motorists not to drive into areas where water covers the roadway. The water depth may be too great to allow a vehicle to cross safely.
The flash flood warning remains in effect for much of those areas until 6 p.m.
Rains Saturday led to a multivehicle accident on Ilinois 32 at the Shelby-Effingham County line.
According to a release, Stewardson Fire Department responded at 4:10 p.m. and upon arrival found multiple northbound vehicles involved in a rear-end collision a 10th of a mile north of Effingham County line.
Vehicles sustained various degrees of damage, with one vehicle a total loss. No injuries were reported.
The suspected cause of the accident is water over the roadway. Names of those involved in the accident aren't being released at this time, because the release states minors were involved.
Firefighters remained on scene for more than an hour and a half and were assited by Stewardson Ambulance Service, Shelby County Sheriff's Office and Effingham County Sheriff's Office.
The Stewardson Fire Department reminds all drivers to be cautious when driving during rapid heavy rains. Many area roadways can experience flash flooding during rainfall and extra caution, slower travel speeds, and greater following distances can decrease the probability of having an accident. Drivers are also reminded that Illinois requires them to operate headlights when weather conditions require the use of windshield wipers, and that wireless phones are prohibited within 500 feet of an emergency scene.