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    Rain expected to taper off this afternoon, more expected this week

    Keep the umbrella handy. You’re going to need it all week.

    A series of low pressure systems is expected to zip through the area this week bringing plenty of clouds and some scattered showers, according to the National Weather Service.

    “Those showers this week are likely to be just spotty -- more of a nuisance,” said meteorologist Bill Simpson.


    For today, the heavy rains will taper off, and the sun may even emerge in the afternoon.

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    Temperatures this week are expected to settle around 60 degrees throughout Massachusetts.

    The US Drought Monitor issued by the weather service last week reported that the eastern half of Massachusetts, as well as Rhode Island and Northern Connecticut were in a state of severe drought. Western Massachusetts and Southwest New Hampshire were listed as having moderate drought.

    “This rainfall has been great but one rainfall doesn’t always polish off a drought situation,” said weather service hydrologist Nicole Belk.

    The rainfall added between 1 and 3 inches in the state and brought the precipitation total in Boston to about 8 inches. Those totals are about half of normal for the year.


    The problem, Simpson said, is that it will be difficult to make up that deficit with no more significant rain events on the extended forecast.

    This Spring, which lasts from March 1 to May 31 on the weather service calendar, is on track to be one of the driest on record, said meteorologist Joe Dellicarpini. At this point, Boston has 5.11 inches of precipitation, knocking it out of first place.

    The driest spring was recorded in 1981 with 4.29 inches. Second place currently stands at 5.42 inches, set in 1995.

    Dellicarpini said that it is hard to say whether or not Boston will hit a record this year since there is still another month to go, leaving plenty of time for another significant rainfall.

    Alli Knothe can be reached at