The first real fall chill of the season has arrived to New England on the heels of a cold front that brought one to two inches of soaking rain to much of New England and opened the door to a gusty northwest wind that will hit 40 mph in stronger gusts Friday, Friday night and the first half of Saturday. The dry air has made way for sunshine mixed with fair weather clouds, though the cool nature of the air sets up a clash with much warmer ocean water, so Outer Cape Cod will find ocean-effect rain showers cropping up Friday into Friday night. Elsewhere, a mostly clear night with a continued gusty wind will bring temperatures to either side of 40 degrees. Meanwhile, the Tropical Atlantic is a busy place – most impactful to us is Hurricane Fiona, racing toward Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and set to deliver considerable wind damage there, particularly east of Halifax. As the storm marches north into Atlantic Canada, its wind field will continue expanding, part of what’s driving the gusty conditions in New England and enough to prompt gale warnings over our coastal waters and storm warnings for Eastern Maine. Waves emanating from Fiona will build Friday and continue growing into Saturday with breakers reaching 4 to 6 feet and offshore waves as high as 10-20 feet outside of George’s Bank, not only posing a danger for New England fishing fleets offshore, but also driving powerful surf into New England’s beaches both Friday and Saturday with strong rip currents and pockets of beach erosion. Elsewhere, Saturday’s chilly start and gusty wind will drive wind chill values into the 30s during early morning, while afternoon high temperatures in the 60s regionwide will be accompanied by an accelerated fall of acorns and hickory nuts! As Fiona pulls north of Newfoundland Saturday evening and high pressure builds over New England, the wind will quiet Saturday late day and temperatures will moderate Sunday, rising back to either side of 70 degrees. Morning sun Sunday will be followed by midday clouds and likely afternoon showers advancing from west to east late in the day, lasting as scattered showers Sunday night through Monday as jet stream disturbance ripples through the sky aloft, dragging a surface cold front through later Monday or early Tuesday. Meanwhile, Tropical Depression Nine over the Caribbean is forecast to strengthen to Hurricane Hermine over this upcoming weekend, taking aim at Florida by the middle of next week. While a persistent pattern of frequent disturbances and associated cold fronts should ensure Hermine stays south of New England at the end of next week, the only thing we’ll need to watch carefully is if a disturbance at midweek – currently predicted to deliver passing showers here on Wednesday – strengthens enough to change the steering flow over the East Coast to point more south to north. At this point, that’s not likely, but it’s also not entirely impossible so our First Alert Team will watch the forecast carefully in the coming days.