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MILWAUKEE (AP)

Southeastern Wisconsin has had a 6-inch rain deficit this year and has been classified as 'abnormally dry' despite storms that soaked much of the Midwest in recent days.

During a normal year, southeastern Wisconsin already should have had 18 inches of rainfall. But this year, the total is only about 12 inches. For the first time this year, the southeast part of Wisconsin was added to the federal drought monitor, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

If the dry weather continues, the region could be upgraded from abnormally dry to moderate drought.

Southeastern Wisconsin has been slowly accruing a rain deficit this spring, continuing into summer, assistantstate climatologist Ed Hopkins said.

'For a long time period, it wasn't so bad,' Hopkins said. 'But we have a deficit that's been accumulating through the year and it's been steadily getting worse.'

During the past week, southeastern Wisconsin has received between 5 percent and 25 percent of the typical amount of rain for this time of year. Over the past three months, the area received about 75 percent of typical rainfall. A lot of precipitation in the winter kept the area from entering the drought monitor sooner.

Rainfall in southern Wisconsin is expected to continue at below average levels for the next couple of weeks, according to forecasts from the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center.

'If we get some timely rain, then we may stay in abnormally dry conditions, but I don't know,' Hopkins said. 'It doesn't look too good right now.'

The National Weather Service forecasts a chance of showers and thunderstorms for southeastern WisconsinSaturday night and another round Sunday afternoon and evening.

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