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Heavy rain threat increasing across central Illinois

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[March 20, 2007]  At least two rounds of showers and thunderstorms are expected to push across central and southeast Illinois over the next several days, threatening to bring heavy rainfall to areas that have already seen flooding of rivers and streams from previous rains. Current indications suggest that the first round of rainfall will occur across the area Tuesday night into Wednesday morning as a warm front lifts north across the Midwest. Rainfall amounts of 1 to locally 1.5 inches will be possible, especially along the Illinois, Mackinaw and Spoon River basins.

A second round of showers and thunderstorms will accompany a cold front that is forecast to push across central and southeast Illinois on Thursday. Rainfall from this system will average from 1 to locally 2 inches and will cover a larger area, extending from the Illinois and Sangamon basins east and south to the Vermilion, Little Wabash and Embarras basins by Thursday afternoon and night.

Havana and Beardstown along the Illinois River are already experiencing minor flooding, with Henry and Peoria stages just below minor flood. These locations will experience much slower responses to the heavier rains. However, along the Spoon and Mackinaw basins, if the heavy rain does materialize in these areas overnight or Wednesday morning, we could see rapid rises in less than a 12-hour period. Farther south and east, along the Sangamon, Vermilion, Little Wabash and Embarras basins, the heaviest rainfall into Wednesday morning is expected to occur to the north and west. However, the heavy rainfall threat will shift into these locations on Thursday and Thursday night as a cold front makes its way south across the Midwest.

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People with interests along area rivers need to keep abreast of later forecasts Tuesday as this event unfolds. Flooding may occur because the ground is saturated from previous rains. Low water crossings and small streams could swell to small raging streams of water as we have seen with previous heavy rainfall events.

The hazardous weather outlook will be updated with the latest information throughout the day. Another source of current weather for central, east central and southeast Illinois is through In addition, for hydrologic interests, you can view the latest forecasts and stages at

[Text from news release from the National Weather Service, Lincoln office]

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