It has been days since we've even seen a cloud overhead, but that's all about to change as another cold front pushes into our region. Until then, the all-too-familiar issue of fire danger is at hand. Low relative humidity values, dry vegetation and gusty winds are creating another afternoon or two of prime fire-spreading conditions.

That issue will be put to rest, temporarily at least, by Thursday as that cold front enters from the northwest. Along and behind that front, we expect not only an increase in clouds, but widespread showers and thunderstorms. The latest computer model guidance slows this system down and even splits into several pieces, which would delay the rain's exit. This is a better scenario for drought alleviation and prolonged cooler temperatures. The map above shows the latest rainfall estimates through Sunday morning.

Unlike last Friday's violent wind storm that accompanied the rain, we shouldn't have too much severe weather or torrential downpours. Temperatures won't be nearly as warm Thursday so the threat of damaging winds is much less. Therefore, this is the kind of rain we want to see – widespread light to moderate rain over a longer period of time. With cooler temperatures on the back side of the front, less moisture will be lost from the ground due to evaporation. Right now, our forecast has the system clearing the area by late Friday in time for the weekend, but that is subject to change. With inconsistencies in the evolution of this system, we can't guarantee a dry weekend. We CAN guarantee rather pleasant temperature though!

The outlook for later in the month isn't half bad. While the Climate Prediction Center is calling for drier-than-normal conditions, a persistent trough over the central U.S. will promote cooler-than-normal temperatures. *Gasp* We might actually have to think about having warmer clothes on hand!

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