Winter officially arrived Wednesday morning

Posted at 5:36 PM, Dec 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-21 17:37:23-05

WEST MICHIGAN — You wouldn’t know it with the 35 inches of snow we’ve already had…but winter just begin Wednesday morning. It officially arrived at 5:44 A.M.. It’s also known as the winter solstice. But what does it all mean? Lets take a look.

The winter solstice marks the start of winter for the northern hemisphere and the start of the summer for the southern hemisphere. It also marks the longest night of the year with about 15 hours of darkness for West Michigan…and the shortest day of the year with about 9 hours of daylight. Add those two together for a total of 24 hours. The nice thing is our daylight hours continue to get longer from here on in!

By the time we get to March 21 or so, the sun will have traveled as far north as the equator…what we refer to as the Spring or Vernal Equinox. By June 21 or so, the sun will be at its highest point in our northern hemispheric sky and our days will be on the order of about 15 hours long…while the actual darkness of night will only be about 9 hours. Note how things flip flop six months later…all due to the 23.5 degree tilt of Earth on its axis.

Christmas weekend is upon us and should generally enter like a lamb, although a brief, big warm up with rain is likely late in the day on Sunday (Christmas Day). Look for windy conditions with plenty of fog by Sunday night/Monday morning. Get the complete forecast at