Thursday’s air feels much cooler than most New Englanders have become accustomed to in the last couple of weeks, but we’ve been spoiled by much above normal temperatures – with highs in the 40s to lower 50s, we’re running near, or in some cases still slightly above, where we should be for today’s date. Nonetheless, a light easterly wind off a 40 to 42 degree ocean water is keeping not only the coastline cool, but areas dozens of miles inland as well, though warmest spots Thursday afternoon will be farthest from the ocean in Southern New England, where high temperatures should rise well into the 50s. With dry weather continuing, brush fire danger continues to be elevated, particularly inland, and burning brush is discouraged while caution needs to exercised with small potential ignition sources like cigarettes, as well – these are the two leading causes of brush fires in New England! Showers moving swiftly east out of the Central Plains will arrive to New England as soon as late Thursday evening, spreading from west to east between 9 PM and 1 AM. Friday morning’s commute will start with scattered, mostly light showers in Eastern New England, with steadier rain ramping up in Western New England and snow across the North Country, where it will take until midday to change to rain and two to four inches of accumulation are expected from the Great North Woods of NH to the mountains of Maine and Northern Maine. Farther south, the heaviest and steadiest rain will fall between 9 AM and 3 PM, departing for all but Central and Eastern Maine before sunset, allowing for breaks of late day and evening sun. As the showers swing through, a southerly wind will strengthen and gust to 40 mph at times, transporting warmer air into New England and boosting daytime high temperatures to near 60 – even into the 60s in some of Connecticut and Western MA after the rain ends. The dry air taking over behind Friday’s showers will stick around all weekend, save for some mountain snow showers Saturday morning, making for fresh air and lots of outdoor options with so many indoor events canceled due to coronavirus concerns. The air will gradually become cooler, so that Sunday’s highs will only be in the 40s and that air sticks around through Monday. By St. Patrick’s Day, showers re-enter the forecast ahead of another gradual but steady warming anticipated for the middle to end of next week in our exclusive First Alert 10-day forecast.