Winter is officially here

Published 10:48 am Thursday, December 21, 2017

Today is the Winter Solstice, the scientific start of winter.

For most of us, that means this is the shortest day of the year. We have hours less sunlight on this day than in June, at our longest day of the year.

Another way of phrasing it: This will be the longest night of the year.

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Officially in Oxford, the sun rose at 7 a.m. and will set at 4:52 a.m. today.

Officially, winter in the Northern Hemisphere begins at 10:28 a.m. That is the precise moment that the Northern Hemisphere is tilted farthest from the sun. A low sun angle and general lack of sunlight attribute to the colder temperatures over the Northern Hemisphere.

It’s probably fitting, then, that we in Northern Mississippi are about to move into at least 10 days of below average temperatures between Christmas and New Years.

A dip in the jet stream will send temperatures lower from about Christmas Day until after New Years. Some forecasts continue to show that eventually, perhaps early in the New Year, the Oxford area will get some snow.

We’ll see.

For now, it’s the shortest day of the year or the longest night of the year, however you want to frame it. Cheers to a happy official start of winter to all.