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Hey Ray! Winter Is Coming

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - ​Winter officially begins on Monday, December 21st at 5:02 a.m.

winter begins
Photo Credit: KDKA Weather Center

That is a very specific time because it is the exact time that the sun reaches its greatest angular distance south of the Equator, marking the Winter Solstice.

That is what a solstice is: the time when the sun reaches its greatest distance from the Equator.

It happens twice a year, once in the winter and once in the summer.

The solstice marks the beginning of those seasons.

the seasons
Photo Credit: KDKA Weather Center

Since we are starting winter, let's take a look at some of winter's stats for Pittsburgh.

Winter lasts 89 days and ends at 5:37 a.m. on March 20, 2020.

We experience our coldest temperatures during winter, but you already know that.

Do you know the dates of the coldest temperatures, on average, though?

winters rock bottom
Photo Credit: KDKA Weather Center

The dates between January 10 and 17th are rock bottom, temperature-wise.

Those 8 days we average our lowest low temperature of 21 degrees, and we average our lowest high temperature of 35 degrees.

If you want some brighter statistics, just know that after the winter solstice, our minutes of daylight each day starts to increase.

It happens slowly, at first, but, as people say, the days get longer, and will continue to do so until the Summer Solstice on June 20th. (Yes, we know the day does not get longer than 24 hours, and the time spent in daylight is what increases.)

Winter can feel like the longest of all the seasons, but is it as long as it feels?

Actually, how winter feels is the opposite of what it is.

Winter is the shortest of all the seasons with about 89 days in it. The seasons aren't equal because the Earth's path around the sun is elliptical, or not a perfect circle.

Given the 23.5° tilt of the Earth and this elliptical path, this means our warming seasons are actually our longer seasons!

days in each season
Photo Credit: KDKA Weather Center

Those numbers add up to 366 because they are rounded to account for the seasons not starting exactly at midnight, much like Winter beginning at 5:02 a.m. on Monday!

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