- Associated Press - Saturday, June 20, 2015

CENTREVILLE, Ill. (AP) - Rescue crews evacuated about 40 people because of flooding in the southwestern Illinois city of Centreville, paddling them to safety in orange inflatable rafts above streets that had turned to muddy rivers.

Emergency personnel went door to door to more than 100 homes on Friday afternoon, but some residents refused to leave despite flood waters that reached 4 feet in places, KSDK-TV reported (http://on.ksdk.com/1JaE7GX ).

Kendra Smith was evacuated with several young children and a dog.

“It was up to my stomach,” she said. “I had to walk in it to get my car out. … You can’t see the street. It looks like a lake.”

News video shot from a helicopter showed street after street inundated with rain water in a low-lying area. The water pooled quickly because the ground was already saturated from more than a week of periodic heavy rain and storm drains were full, said Herb Simmons, director of the St. Clair County Emergency Management Agency.

More evacuations are possible throughout the weekend if the water doesn’t recede.

There was also flooding Friday in eastern Illinois, where the state’s department of transportation had to close a section of U.S. Highway 45 about 3 miles north of Mattoon.

Authorities cautioned drivers to stay out of even shallow water over roadways.

The National Weather Service said periodic storms were expected for much of Illinois for the next few days. In eastern Illinois, minor flooding remains possible in the basins of the Sangamon and Wabash rivers.

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This story has been corrected to show the first name of one of the evacuated residents is Kendra, not Kenda.

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Information from: KSDK-TV, http://www.ksdk.com

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