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Rain to ease drought conditions in northeastern US with help from Julia

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Rain and thunderstorms will converge on the Northeast and may bring brief drought relief to needy areas by early next week.

The rainfall will mostly be the result of a storm system moving in from the Midwest and another sitting over the Atlantic Ocean.

"The storm approaching from the Midwest will draw some of Julia's moisture northward," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson.

"Beneficial rain will result with or without Julia's moisture for drought-stricken areas of New York and New England during Sunday and Monday," Anderson said.

While not enough rain will fall to break the drought and fill reservoirs, lakes and streams in hard-hit areas of southeastern New England, enough rain will fall to soak the ground and allow some lawns to green up and start to grow again.

A general 0.50 to 1.00 inch of rain is likely from east of Interstate 95 in the mid-Atlantic and southeastern New England. If Julia's moisture is drawn in, then rain amounts may be higher. In the latter case, a general 1-2 inches would occur with locally more.

Enhanced rainfall from Julia's moisture is unlikely to reach farther west over the central Appalachians and eastern Great Lakes region.

"Since Jan. 1, 2016, Boston has a rainfall deficit of nearly 10 inches," Anderson said.

Since the start of 2015, Boston's rain deficit is even higher at 18 inches, according to Anderson.

Much of New Jersey and north-central Pennsylvania is in moderate drought with extreme drought in part of western New York state, according to the United States Drought Monitor.

The rainfall deficit ranges from 6 to 8 inches over central and western New York state since the start of this year.

"Drought conditions like this hit local farmers hard in parts of the mid-Atlantic and New England," according to AccuWeather Agricultural Meteorologist Dale Mohler.

The lack of rain may result in lower yields of apples and pumpkins, where irrigation was not used. On the other hand, some crops, such as grapes, may be more flavorful and less prone to fungus and disease.

The drought conditions have stressed not only crops but also trees in the region. The dryness will result in an early leaf drop and will likely cause the period of peak color to be less intense and of a shorter duration, when compared to average.

In addition to easing the dry conditions in some areas, downpours associated with the storm system and tropical moisture could be heavy enough to cause water to collect in poor drainage areas on streets and highways.

Even a small amount of water can initially make roads slippery, when combined with a buildup of oil from recent days and weeks.

Motorists are encouraged to slow down and allow extra space between vehicles to compensate for increased stopping distance when braking.

The rain could spoil part of the day at the beach from Delmarva to Cape Cod on Sunday.

Following the rain, temperatures for most of northeastern U.S. will be much above average next week and the following weekend thanks in a large part to weather systems in Asia.