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Rain, for real

Heftiest rains since Lee, in September, possible.

Although still sprinkled with uncertainty, the updated rain forecasts have added some juice, and the region could see a general 2 to 3 inches before it all comes to an end on Monday.

To put that into some perspective, only 5.59 inches has fallen in the 111 days since Jan. 1, and half that much of that could fall in just the next three days.

It wouldn't take deluge to make this the biggest rainstorm of the year. As Peter Mucha's online story noted, just over an inch fell officially at Philadelphia International Airport on Feb. 29, with a similar total back on Jan. 11-12.

To find the last official rain of 2.5-plus inches, we have to go back to the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee in September.

Showers are possible tomorrow, but it appears that the bulk of the rain would fall Sunday and Sunday night.

Fortunately, the risk of widespread major flooding this time around is minimal, since river and stream levels are way down. The flow on the Delaware River at Trenton is about 22 percent of average.

For now, the National Weather Service doesn't plan to post any flood watches, said Valerie Meola in the Mount Holly office, and if anything only the smaller, flashier streams would be vulnerable.

Score another plus for tree-pollen allergy sufferers who have been through a brutal week. Monday through Thursday, the Asthma Center pollen counts reported by Dr. Donald J. Dvorin were well over 2,000. The "extreme" level is 1,000.

The dry, warm conditions have been ideal for pollen flight; the rain won't be, since it literally puts a damper on the annual tree-reproductive frenzy.