Rainfall levels could top 2 inches in parts of Maryland early this week.

Rainfall levels could top 2 inches in parts of Maryland early this week. (National Weather Service / May 14, 2012)

The week leading up to the Preakness Stakes is getting off to a rainy start, with 2 inches of precipitation expected between today and Wednesday morning.

The National Weather Service is predicting an inch of rain will fall today through tonight, and another inch Tuesday through Wednesday morning. The weather service's hydrological prediction center is expecting the heaviest rainfall along the Appalachians and into New England.

Central Maryland, on the northwest side of Interstate 95 in particular, is expected to see up to 2 inches of rain. The further south and east you go from I-95, the less rain is expected. Anne Arundel County could see rain totals up to 1.5 inches, while the Eastern Shore is forecast to receive an inch to 1.25 inches of rain.

Most of the state is under a drought watch, with more than a 5-inch gap between normal rainfall and rainfall observed so far this year at BWI Marshall Airport.

Starting Wednesday night, clear skies and dry weather is expected, potentially drying up the racetrack at Pimlico. The forecase for Preakness Saturday is 77 degrees with partly cloudy skies.