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Rain possible tonight, early Thursday

North Texas could receive some welcome rain tonight and early Thursday, but forecasters say overall dry conditions will likely continue throughout the year.

The area is not officially in a drought but is considered "abnormally dry," said Jennifer Dunn, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Fort Worth.

"If we continue to get below normal precipitation, which is looking possible, our vegetation will keep drying out," Dunn said. "That could lead to increased risk of fires over the winter."

Conditions would probably not be as severe as winter of 2005-2006 when grass fires were rampant. But, as of Wednesday afternoon, D/FW Airport had recorded 22.30 inches of rain - 7.72 inches below normal.

"That is a lot of rainfall to make up before the end of the year," Dunn said.

There is reason for hope, she said. While the long-term forecast doesn't call for significant rain in November and December, the chances for rain in January and February are more favorable.

Thursday's rain showers will accompany a cool front expected to sweep into north Texas from the Texas Panhandle about 6 a.m. Daytime highs could drop into the mid-70s and nighttime lows into the 40s.

The first four days of November were all in the 80s.

"It won't be a drastic drop but it will be noticeable," Dunn said.

The average high temperature in October was 81.3, down from 83.1 in October 2007.

Temperatures this week are expcted to hover in the 70s but a stronger cold front is on pace to arrive at the beginning of next week, Dunn said. Highs could fall into the 60s.