Shortest days yet to come
MINOT – Take pride, fellow North Dakota residents, in experiencing life in the dark – and the shortest days are yet to come.
Today Minot will have 8 hours and 25 minutes of daylight, the time between sunrise and sunset. That’s not much daylight at all, but next Monday, December 19, we lose another minute as Minot enters a one-week stretch of the shortest daylight of the year, 8 hours and 20 minutes.
Then, on December 26, the day after Christmas, Minoters will receive a gift of an additional minute of daylight. Yup. Sunrise at 8:35 a.m. and sunset at 4:56 p.m. — 8 hours and 21 minutes of daylight. Hoorah!
From then on, it’s more and more daylight each day of the calendar, for a few months anyway. Winter officially changes to spring on March 20. That day sunrise will be at 7:49 a.m. and sunset at 7:56 p.m. for a wonderful 12 hours and 7 minutes of daylight. That’s 3 hours and 44 minutes more than today.
So, it’ll be warmer, right? Yes, but it takes a while. The planet is a big place and takes a while to warm up after the big cool down of winter. A few minutes of daylight isn’t quite like turning up the burner on the stove from medium-low to high.
Remember, the official start of winter is still more than a week away. Astronomical winter starts Dec. 21. Meteorological winter, which is often referred to by professionals like those at the National Weather Service, is comprised of December, January, and February.
Then there’s what many know as real winter in North Dakota, roughly from Oct.1 to Memorial Day in late May.