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Long Island still experiencing moderate drought, but that may change soon, forecasters say

Though Long Island continues to be in the U.S. Drought Monitor's moderate drought category, somewhat of a precipitation catch-up appears to be afoot.

That news comes as there's the potential for heavy rain to be delivered Sunday by the remnants of tropical depression Bill, forecasters said.

As of Thursday afternoon's forecast, there was an 80 percent chance of heavy rain on Sunday, with most of Long Island seeing around an inch and a quarter to an inch and three quarters from late Saturday to early Monday, said Joe Pollina, National Weather Service meteorologist based in Upton. Still, there remained uncertainty as to the storm's precise track, the weather service said.

A hazardous weather outlook indicates a one in three chance for significant flash flooding, the weather service said, with possible rainfall rates of up to an inch an hour.

According to News 12 Long Island meteorologist Rich Hoffman, "Heavy rain will move east with the storm and will impact Long Island into Father's Day." A question remains, he says, as to whether the heavy rain moves across the Island or stays to the south.

As for the precipitation deficit -- 6.59 inches since April -- it has already been diminishing, with a departure from normal of just .55 of an inch registered so far for June, according to the Northeast Regional Climate Center based at Cornell University.

Russell Martin, the center's drought coordinator, said he's optimistic that the Northeast region's conditions will be getting back to normal.

Speaking Thursday on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's monthly climate call, Martin compared this spring to that of 2012, which started to register dryness in some areas in March, expanded to most of the region by May and then pulled back by early June when rains kicked in.

Temperature and precipitation probabilities for July were also released on the call.

For Long Island the Climate Prediction Center indicates a slightly better chance -- 42 percent to 44 percent -- for above-normal temperatures than for at or below normal, which is 73.9 degrees. Precipitation-wise, the prediction center says there's an equal chance of above, below or right at normal, which is 3.43 inches.


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