By RICK HAYES
---- — MT. VERNON — Motorists in Jefferson County are being urged to use caution as low-lying areas have flooded, or have the potential to flood as a result of recent rains.Gov. Pat Quinn has activated the State Incident Response Center in Springfield to assess flooding and severe weather in several areas of the state and expedite assistance that may be needed by local public safety officials to protect citizens.Locally, flooding has occurred in the same areas where high waters have traditionally risen after heavy rainfall. Specifically, Hall Lane between Woodlawn and Waltonville is a problem area in the southwest part of the county, and LIebengood Road and Chestnut Lane on the east side of Mt. Vernon."The only road I know of that has been closed is Hall Lane, which if we get more than an inch of rain, is always flooded," said Sheriff Roger Mulch. "Liebengood and Chestnut have also been flooding areas in the past."Mulch offered simple advice. "If you can't see the roadway, don't drive across it. You can judge by fence rows or utility poles. If it's more than 3 or 4 inches deep you can still see the roadway. If it's more than 6 inches, you can get some strong currents and the road may be washed out."He added, "You may think it's only 3 or 4 inches deep, and if it's not, you can drop off in a big wall. If there is water on a roadway, don't risk going across it. Find a safe place to turn around and take an alternate route."Jefferson County received about 2 inches of rain during Thursday's storm activity, but the Chicago area has been hit hard this week by torrential rains, and that water more than likely will travel south."The creeks that feed off other tributaries will take a few days to travel down here. When the creeks are already swollen and the main tributaries are full, it can only increase the chance of flooding," Mulch said. "Just because the rain has stopped doesn't mean the risk of flooding is still not present."Flood warnings and watches have been posted throughout the state."Driving into flooded portions of roads can be dangerous and even deadly, as flood waters can quickly carry your vehicle away," stated Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider. "Our crews are working diligently to ensure flooded roads are closed off to the motoring public and will continue to monitor conditions to ensure safety across Illinois."