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Long Island weather: Sunny, mild start to spring

Exceptionally fine weather on Saturday and Sunday will bring the best of early spring to Long Island.

"A gorgeous March weekend is on tap across the region with high pressure in control," the National Weather Service said. "Abundant sunshine prevails both Saturday and Sunday with afternoon temperatures rising into the 50s and 60s, or five to 15 degrees above normal."

Even the winds will be calm Saturday, which is the official start of spring. The same holds true on Sunday.

Low temperatures on Saturday and Sunday night will slip to around freezing, the weather service said.

Monday and Tuesday also hold the promise of clear skies and mild temperatures.

Day time highs should rise into the mid-50s, and the night time lows will only retreat to around the mid-40s, the weather service said.

The same high pressure system delivering Long Island’s lovely stretch of weather is shared by much of the East.

"The majority of the eastern U.S. will enjoy a dry and cool airmass through the weekend and into early Monday morning as a large Canadian surface high builds into the region," said the Climate Prediction Center, which is part of the weather service. "As high pressure builds in across the Northeast and Ohio Valley region, mild temperatures are also forecast to spread across the Midwest and Northeast through the weekend, with a gradual warming trend by the end of the weekend."

Long Island’s skies likely will cloud over on Wednesday and Thursday, the weather service said, though no rain is forecast until Thursday night.

Highs are expected to be in the mid-50s on Wednesday.

"The high gradually weakens and slides eastward during the middle and end of the week. This will allow a couple of troughs to move near the region, setting up what could be a period of unsettled weather Wednesday through Friday," the weather service said.

The air falls in high pressure systems, and as it warms and dries, it tends to thwart clouds and rain from forming, experts say. Troughs are elongated areas of low pressure, the weather service says, and their rising air cools, allowing water to condense, helping to create clouds and rain.

The odds of rain Thursday night are 30%. The chance of precipitation rises to 40% on Friday.

Both days should be mild, however, with thermometers reaching the mid- to upper 50s and sliding to the low 40s at night, the weather service said.

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