So It Begins…


Last night I quoted The Matrix, tonight it’s Frodo & the boys (I love that franchise too)! Théoden utters that line at the Battle of Helm’s Deep and here we are on the first day of December–the first day of Meteorological Winter–how apropos.

Woah….I thought winter started on December 21st, bro?!

Astronomical winter still does begin on December 21st –the winter solstice–which marks when the tilt of the northern hemisphere (tilt of Earth) is farthest from the sun and remains the popular benchmark for winter’s arrival. As meteorologists, we tend to view winter–and the other seasons–a little differently. We look at the annual temperature cycle and find that December, January and February are the 3 coldest months of the year. We label that meteorological winter and it is very helpful when computing weather information as that season’s length (90 days–non leap year) is more consistent than when using astronomical seasons. The astronomical seasons length will shift due to an eliptical orbit around the sun as well as the annual track technically 365.24 days. Of course there is no one seasonal definition to rule them all but choosing to define the seasons meteorologically also means that spring starts on March 1st–3 weeks earlier than astronomical spring! That has a nice ring to it.

Looking ahead, we have more sunshine on tap the next few days but also a cooling trend. Temps tomorrow are still a little above normal–near 50 but a cool front will sneak through here tomorrow night preventing those temps from flirting with 50 over the weekend and much of next week. We are storm-free for several days but a storm will pass well south of New England Monday morning as High Pressure blocks the storm (You shall not pass!). Too far for any significant weather but clouds & perhaps a few flurries from some of those clouds.

Speaking of snow, we may be overdue for some December snow this year. Check out the past five Decembers for Boston and the amount of snow we’ve seen:

Way below normal for 3 of those 5 Decembers. Anything is possible but it would seem very unlikely we could go 3 straight Decembers without any snow. We shall see….