The much anticipated nor’easter has developed over the waters south of New England and will continue strengthening over the next 24 hours. This storm center is fueled by all the classic ingredients for storm development: atmospheric energy provided by the jet stream winds aloft, cool air surging south from Canada and warmth over the Gulf Stream waters of the Western Atlantic. The clash of temperature, combined with the available energy, nis allowing the developing storm center to our south to gain footing and we’ve seen both the cloud structure and wind pattern becoming more organized through the day on Thursday. The cool air pushing south out of Canada means business, however, and is also dry by nature, pushing back effectively against the southern surge of moisture and making any northward progress of rain very slow Thursday. In fact, while our First Alert Weather Team expects showers to trudge north to the New Hampshire border by evening, anywhere farther north than Manchester, NH, will stay much drier – and for some, entirely dry – over the coming days. While a dry forecast for the North Country bodes wonderfully for the all-important foliage-oriented tourism weekend of Columbus Day, with only a gusty breeze to dislodge some of the peak color foliage but no leaf-stripping rain, it’s a different story for Southern New England. After a slow ramp-up in rain and wind Wednesday, late Wednesday evening through the overnight expect northeast gusts to exceed 40 mph on Cape Cod, and isolated power outages are possible by daybreak. The impactful wind – and heaviest rain – are expected throughout the day Thursday into Friday. Thursday’s wind gusts should exceed 60 mph on the Outer Cape and exceed 50 mph along the Eastern MA coast, with 40 mph gusts reaching very far inland across Southern New England, all contributing to scattered power outages. Additionally, heavy rain to the tune of two to four inches with localized amounts over half a foot possible not only will cause pockets of flooding, particularly when combined with falling leaves clogging storm drains, but also will soften the ground enough so uprooted trees are a possibility in strong wind gusts. While the most intense rain and wind is expected Thursday, Friday surely will deliver a wind-whipped rain again, and some new power outages will be possible. At the coast, the persistent onshore wind will build seas to 20 feet, meaning beach erosion will be a concern and coastal flooding is a possibility at the roughly midday high tide Thursday, Friday and perhaps Saturday. While the storm will be much weaker Saturday, the onshore wind will continue and likely will deliver areas of steady drizzle and light rain. The wind finally shifts Sunday, affording sunshine for the final two days of the holiday weekend and temperatures returning to the 60s in our exclusive First Alert 10-day forecast.