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Reasons to be grateful for a rain

Reasons to be grateful for a dreary, chilly and wet afternoon.

The temperatures today are similar to what they were on March 18, and a widespread, soaking rain is all but a certainty.

Those aren't the best conditions for a picnic, yard work or for those who have tickets to the Phillies' game.

But despite the record snow and rain of February and March, the region could use the rains, particularly on the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware.

For the last 60 days, precipitation is running about 2.5 inches below normal -- about two-thirds of what it should be -- in Philadelphia and the four nearby Pennsylvania counties.

As much as 1 to 1.5 inches could fall today and tonight. Unpleasant? Perhaps. But the rains may end up saving consumers a few pennies; hold down the inevitable June heat, and retard any onset of drought.

As for those savings, the rain should quiet the garden hoses and make at least a small contribution to holding down  water bills.

Wet soil and foliage have another benign effect: They inhibit heat buildup. Solar energy for evaporating water means that much less for heating the ground.

And generous rain makes it all the more likely that the region will continue its remarkable drought-free run, now in its eighth year. That's the longest stretch since Pennsylvania began keeping track in 1980.

Isn't that reasonable compensation for one nasty day?