Welcome to winter!

Wee-bee is ready! Courtesy Art-Luis on cllick2pins.com

Depending on when you read this blog, it’s either still fall or newly winter, astronomically speaking! The solstice occurs at 3:47 p.m. -- just in time for our 4 p.m. newscast!

Meteorologically and for the sake of record-keeping, winter is December, January and February, but the solstice is important astronomically and we’ve been keeping up with the sun’s position in the sky for centuries:

courtesy pixabay.com

During the winter solstice the sun is directly above the Tropic of Capricorn while above the equator for spring and fall equinoxes and above the Tropic of Cancer during the summer solstice. What does that mean exactly?

Well, the Earth tilts on its axis at an angle of 23.5° and as we orbit the sun its position changes relative to our Earth. The sun “moves” from one “tropic line” to the other during the year -- from the Tropic of Capricorn line it will start moving north today toward the equator and be there for spring then continues moving north toward the Tropic of Cancer line for the summer solstice. Then it starts moving south again toward the equator!

So where are these lines? Again, because of that Earth tilt, the Tropic of Capricorn is 23.5° latitude south of the equator and the Tropic of Cancer is 23.5° north of the equator! By the way, they are imaginary lines put in place just to envision that’s where the sun is! Take a look:

courtesy NASA

More than anything for us, the winter solstice marks the least amount of daylight -- early sunsets and late sunrises -- which now will start growing longer day by day. You can read much more about the solstice from EarthSky right here.

However, tomorrow being the first FULL day of winter is about as on target as you can get with this arctic blast headed our way! I am seeing a slight warming trend in the American model with lows Friday morning in the low 20s as opposed to the upper teens, but with the strong winds we’ll still experience wind chills near 0°! So don’t let your guard down. Here’s the latest GFS run from Thursday afternoon to Christmas afternoon:

GFS latest run courtesy tropicaltidbits.com

And it is the Christmas weekend. Stay merry, just safe!!


Email me with your ideas or questions and I love to see your photos on Click2Pins.com! Thanks!

About the Authors:

KPRC 2's chief meteorologist with four decades of experience forecasting Houston's weather.

Amanda Cochran is an Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. She specializes in Texas features, consumer and business news and local crime coverage.