Signs of Spring: Pollen Count, Brush Fire Danger Rising

They're the classic hallmarks of New England spring, coming ahead of sprinkles and snow flurries this weekend

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Thursday’s spring sunshine means signs of the season continue to unfold, from soft ground to mild temperatures to building pollen count and high brush fire danger.

The pollen count may be a bit surprising to some – it’s juniper that’s jumped onto the scene – and the brush fire may surprise others, though high early spring brush fire is an annual hallmark for New England.  

With no leaves on the trees yet, sunshine is unabated as it hits the forest floors and fields – there's no green grass, no leaves and no brush to provide shade. This means any rain and resulting damp ground dries very quickly, and last year’s dead leaves and brush also dry very quickly, serving as tinder if any sparks should come flying. 

The most typical cause of brush fires in New England are humans: poorly managed brush burning that releases an ember, or cigarettes tossed out car windows. 

This Weekend's Forecast

The air and the ground will gradually moisten on Friday as a handoff of energy takes place between two storms. One is weakening as it moves east from the Great Lakes, the other is a strengthening storm over the Gulf Stream waters south of New England. 

As the energy aloft hands off from one storm to the other, some of that energy moves over New England, coupling with a developing, onshore, easterly wind to fill in the clouds after early morning Friday, then produce some sprinkles and flurries by afternoon and scattered snow showers by evening and night. 

The most organized snow showers will fall on Cape Cod overnight Friday night as a northeast wind increases and gusts over 35 mph, but temperatures above freezing most of the night will mean little more than a coating on grassy surfaces and very little impact if any on roads.

New, dry air arrives Saturday on a busy northerly wind, meaning that, as morning clouds give way to afternoon sun, high temperatures around 40 will only feel like 30 with the wind chill factor.

This makes Sunday the pick of the weekend, when temperatures rise into the 50s with sunshine.

Warmer air will continue pouring into New England Monday and Tuesday, when high temperatures should exceed 60 degrees at least in Southern New England, with the chance of showers building Tuesday.

The second half of next week looks more unsettled in our exclusive First Alert 10-day forecast, with mostly rain showers, but cold air close enough to watch for snow showers in the mountains and a chance of rain or snow region-wide on Thursday.

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