By John Schwing

WESTPORT — The fall equinox arrives later Thursday with a chilling reality.

Literally.

Storms and plunging temperatures are in the forecast by the time autumn officially starts shortly before 9 p.m. Thursday.

A “Hazardous Weather Outlook” is in effect for Westport and the region Thursday as a “strong cold front” moves through the area, with the potential to trigger rain and thunderstorms, according to the National Weather Service.

Isolated “strong to severe” thunderstorms are possible, the NWS warns, with “the main threat being strong to damaging winds.”

Overnight temperatures Thursday are predicted to drop sharply to the mid-40s, and will recover only to the mid-60s Friday despite sunny skies, the weather service says.

The Fahrenheit readings fall again into the 40s Friday night, and rise to the low-70s Saturday and Sunday under bright skies.

John Schwing, the Westport Journal consulting editor, has held senior editorial and writing posts at southwestern Connecticut media outlets for four decades. Learn more about us here.