Winter began on Wednesday

December 22, 2005 at 2:43 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Astronomical winter begins at the winter solstice, which this year occurred on December 21st, at 12:35 in the early afternoon. On this date, the sun is directly overhead at the Tropic of Capricorn, or 23 1/2 degrees south latitude. That means the sun is at its lowest point in the sky here in the northern hemesphere. And it also means that Wednesday was our shortest day of the year, lasting only 9 hours and 59 minutes. Of course, Wednesday night is the longest night of the year, measuring 14 hours and 1 minute long. In the coming weeks and months, the days will slowly grow longer and the nights shorter, until at the equinox in late March, we will have 12 hours each of daylight and dark.

Meteorologically, we consider the months of December, January, and February to be the winter months in the northern hemisphere. We use those three months to compare winters from one year to the next.

Historically, our coldest temperatures occur in mid January. Here in north Texas, from January 10 through January 13, our average temperature ranges from a low of 33 to a high of 53, the coldest temperatures of the year. After that, the temperature slowly rises. By the end of January, our average temperature is a low of 35 and a high of 56. And by the end of February, our average temperature ranges from 42 to 64.

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