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Much-needed rain is headed to areas that have long prayed for it, with the first drops expected to come down as soon as Thursday.

Areas east of the Rockies and through the Plains will see most of the holiday weekend's rainfall, with significant amounts of precipitation in western Oklahoma, the Texas Panhandle and parts of New Mexico coming as early as Thursday.

That's welcome news for farmers in drought-stricken states such as Texas that haven't seen rain in months, said Weather Channel coordinating meteorologist Tom Moore.

"It’s kind of a big deal,” he said, adding that some parts of Texas could even see up to 4-5 inches of rain and minor flooding.

Scattered thunderstorms from a slow-moving system are expected in western Texas every day through Sunday.

According to The Associated Press, parts of West Texas are drier than the 1930s Dust Bowl.

Eleven water suppliers in that state could run out of drinking water in 45 days, the AP reported. More than 20 others are also facing dire shortages.

— Becky Bratu