HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) — The National Weather Service is warning of heavy rains and potential flooding in north Alabama.

The weather service has issued flood watch for the entire region through 6 p.m. Thursday, and flood warnings cover some areas.

Forecasters say rainfall totals ranging from 2 inches to 5 inches are possible in the Tennessee Valley counties, with the heaviest rains expected in northwest Alabama along the Tennessee border. Florence and Muscle Shoals could be affected.

The rainfall could help the state's drought situation, which has improved steadily with regular storms since late last year.

About 63 percent of the state is currently abnormally dry or in a moderate drought, down more than 20 percentage points since early February.