Summer solstice arrives today

WEST MICHIGAN— To say summer arrives Thursday may be an understatement. We’ve already had a few days in the 90s this season with at least a few more likely. We’ve also had some pretty humid, sticky, tropical air masses move in to the Great Lakes…luckily only temporary. Officially, summer arrives on Thursday at 6:07 A.M., but what does it mean?

We call it the summer solstice. It’s the precise minute that our sun is as far north (of the equator) that it will ever be in the year! Exactly 23.5 degrees north of the equator. That means the longest day of the year…some 15 hours and 21 minutes. Wow! It’s easy to see why folks get depressed in the middle of the winter (winter solstice) when the days/nights are flip flopped and we see 15 hours of darkness.

Take notice that these are also the strongest rays of the year. That means is far easier to get a sunburn, so make sure to use the sunscreen if you’re outside. You’ll also notice that our shadows that we cast are far shorter than any other time of the year. This is because the sun is more directly overhead, or higher in the sky above us. The bad news? The days will now gradually start to get shorter.

I suppose the good news is our warmest temperatures generally occur in July and August due to a seasonal temperature lag. Since the earth is cool just coming off the winter in May and June, it takes a while for things to “heat up”. That’s why the hottest temperatures and prolonged heat typically arrive in the second half of the summer. No real heat in the forecast the net few days, just comfortable temperatures.

Get the complete West Michigan forecast at www.fox17online.com/weather. Happy Summer!

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