The setting sunlight creates long shadows of two people walking...

The setting sunlight creates long shadows of two people walking through the main entrance of Sunken Meadow State Park in Kings Park, Wednesday. Credit: Newsday/Steve Pfost

Wednesday's respite from the bitter cold will continue through Thursday as daytime temperatures rise to the low 40s on Long Island and clouds thicken.

But the big chill will return for the weekend, the National Weather Service said.

Wednesday night's low will drop to 28 degrees with light winds that will hang around Thursday.

Thursday's mild afternoon leads to a low just above freezing and a seemingly seasonable Friday, with a high near 40, a slight chance of rain or snow in the morning and possible sun in the afternoon, the weather service said.

But then north winds pick up and the mercury falls to a low of eight degrees at night with winds increasing to gusts of 30 mph. Saturday dawns sunny and cold, with a high of just 19 degrees and a low of 11, forecasters said.

"Temperatures will be well below normal Saturday with highs from the upper teens to the lower 20s," the weather service said. "This is close to 20 degrees below normal."

The night will be frigid: a low of 12 is what the weather service predicts.

Although Sunday will be sunny — and considerably milder, with a daytime high of 33 — Monday’s Martin Luther King Jr Day holiday probably will begin with snow starting around 2 a.m.

The chances of snow are 60% though forecasters anticipate Monday’s daytime high will reach 41.

And rain might replace some of that snow, depending in part on the interaction of a storm system sweeping through the Tennessee Valley and how another pattern forms in Canada.

Currently, the weather service said, it is "still staying with a mainly snow forecast with some mixing in of rain along the coast."

That night returns the brrr factor: a low of 25 is expected.

Tuesday, however, should be mostly sunny, with a high near 36.

With Joan Gralla