On the Bright Side

Winter weather always seems to have some give and take. We've enjoyed mild stretches, but they've been mostly cloudy. Then we get that crystal clear sky, along with the bitter cold air. So, now that we have the sun around, let's take a look at the brighter side of things as we close out our winter and look forward to Spring.

We are in our last month of meteorological winter and today certainly felt like it! Many of us woke up to single-digit temperatures, but at least the sun is shining! And it's hanging around longer too. Today our sunset is at 5:07pm. That's up fifty minutes from our earliest sunset in mid December!

The gain is starting to tick up a bit this month. Check it out:

Right now we're gaining about two minutes per day and by the month's end we tally up three additional minutes of daylight each day.

Here's a few other highlights to look forward to:

In a month and a half, Daylight Saving time will begin and sunset will be close to 7pm. In just forty-five days the Vernal Equinox will occur.  That's when the Earth's tilt is not tilted toward or away from the sun. It gives us equal amounts of daylight and night time. Well, sorta. The Earth maintains an axial tilt of 23.4° throughout the year. That means depending on your latitude, your length of day across the U.S. will vary a bit.

Here in Milwaukee, we sit about 43° N Latitude. So our actual approximate date of equal day and night is more like March 17th. On the Equinox, our length of daylight is already a little longer than on the actual first day of Spring, coming in at twelve hours and nine minutes.

Additionally, the sun angle is rising. Take a look:

That low angle we have now will begin to rise. That higher, stronger sun angle helps to warm temperatures along the way. By the end of March average high temps are near fifty degrees and by the end of April around sixty degrees. Now that's something to look forward to!

I'm meteorologist Rebecca Schuld

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