Calendar Winter is Near

By about the third week of November once the cold settled in, I don't know about you, but it felt like I got dropped off at the North Pole. Speaking of which, the North Pole is almost at its farthest point away from the sun and that means calendar winter is just around the corner! Well, now that our bodies have had time to adjust to the cold, December's weather hasn't felt all that bad so far.  Of course, there's still plenty of winter left, and plenty of dark too. As we approach calendar winter, known as the Winter Solstice, we'll see our shortest day of the year.  The Winter Solstice occurs when the sun reaches its most southerly declination of -23.5 degrees pointing directly overhead of the Tropic of Capricorn in the Southern Hemisphere. By contrast the North Pole is tilted furthest away from the sun. This tilt gives us short days and long nights. Sunrise will occur at 7:20am with sunset at 4:20pm giving us day length of 8 hours 59 minutes and 53 seconds. It could be worse. North of the Arctic Circle towards the North Pole, there is no daylight at all during this time of the year.  If you're like me, less sunlight can be a bummer and with the milder weather in the headlines, it's given me a little hope and optimism to look ahead at some of the positive figures as we cross over into winter. Our sunset time this evening is actually sooner than on the actual solstice. Tonight's sunset is at 4:17pm. Starting on the 15th, our sunset times will begin to occur later although we'll continue to shave off a few minutes from the sunrise through the end of the month.

In terms of the forecast, if you enjoy milder temps and keeping the shovel in the back of the garage, there's good news there too!  Long range forecasts continue to highlight high probabilities of warmer than normal temperatures, especially here across Wisconsin. Here's the latest outlook from the National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center: 

There's not much in the way of active weather coming at us over the next couple of weeks either.  As it looks now, we have a few minor disturbances that will affect our area, but most of that will come in the form of light rain.  Beyond that, there may be hope for some snow just in time for Christmas.  One forecast model is showing some snow possible on the 23nd and 24th of the month. If that holds true we may have a white Christmas!

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