ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

cloudy-day
81°
Partly Cloudy
H 80° L 71°
  • cloudy-day
    81°
    Current Conditions
    Partly Cloudy. H 80° L 71°
  • cloudy-day
    72°
    Morning
    Partly Cloudy. H 80° L 71°
  • rain-day
    84°
    Afternoon
    Few Showers. H 86° L 73°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest newscast

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest traffic report

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest forecast

00:00 | 00:00

National
Winter ends with spring equinox, when day and night are equal
Close

Winter ends with spring equinox, when day and night are equal

Photo Credit: Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Palm Beach sunrise, July 23 2015.

Winter ends with spring equinox, when day and night are equal

The universe is calling winter kaput today as the sun’s rays cross Earth’s celestial equator, and day and night finish as equals.

March 20 is the spring equinox, the astronomical end of the darkest, coldest days of the year.

>> Read more trending stories

And while most of America set clocks forward one hour March 12, the equinox is nature’s promise that earlier sunrises and later sunsets are imminent. The sun rises due east and sets due west on the equinox.

“It means from now on, for the next six months, the days will be longer than the nights,” said Sam Storch, a retired astronomy professor and member of the Astronomical Society of the Palm Beaches. “It is an opportunity to point out that the ancients were more in touch with how things changed in the sky than we are, and used the changes as benchmarks in their lives.”

In spring, the sickle-shaped head and torso of the constellation Leo appear in the eastern sky as belted Orion retires to the west, eventually disappearing in the sun’s glare by June’s summer solstice.

Storch said the rise of Leo was a signal for farmers to begin clearing fields for planting season.

“Orion reminds us that winter has come to an end as we see it falling sadly into the twilight of the west,” Storch said.

Astronomical seasons don’t correspond with meteorological seasons, which are grouped neatly by months to correspond with what are supposed to be the coldest or warmest days of the year. Meteorological winter ended March 1, while astronomical winter ends with the spring equinox.

Of course, Mother Nature is apt to flaunt rules. It brought some of the coldest air of the season to South Florida on Thursday after man’s calendar said winter was done. Temperatures dropped to 46 degrees at Palm Beach International Airport, a full 15 degrees below what’s average for mid-March.

In Washington, D.C. the late-season cold front caused widespread damage to the city’s renowned Japanese flowering cherry trees, which began budding early because of a mild winter.

According to a National Park Service statement, blossoms suffer damage at 27 degrees. The Capitol hit 24 degrees for several hours.

“Because the blossoms are so close to peak bloom and are exposed from the protection of the buds, they are particularly vulnerable to cold temperatures,” the statement said.

Chris Fisher, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Miami, said the first week of astronomical spring should offer true spring-like weather for South Florida with near-normal temperatures in the high 70s and mostly sunny skies.

“We may see a weak cold front, but nothing like what we just saw,” Fisher said. “Other than dropping dew points a little, there won’t be any real impact.”

Read More
VIEW COMMENTS

There are no comments yet. Be the first to post your thoughts. or Register.

The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • Amazon’s Rekognition Video partnered with Orlando Police in a “pilot program” aimed at using existing city cameras to “provide real-time detection and notification of persons-of-interest.” While facial recognition software isn’t a new concept, this technology would go beyond analyzing still photos, reports NPR.  The program is able to accurately track and identify people as they walk down the street. Amazon Rekognition Director Ranju Das recently told a developer conference in Seoul, South Korea that Orlando is a “launch partner” with the company and gave a demonstration using a traffic cam provided by the City of Orlando. “They have cameras all over the city,” said Das. “The authorized cameras are then streaming the data, we are a subscriber to the stream, we analyze the video in real time, search against the collection of faces they have.' In a written statement, OPD said they are not currently testing the the technology on the public and “any use of the system will be in accordance with current and applicable law.”
  • The Florida National Guard is moving resources to areas of the state that could face flooding as a tropical disturbance moves north from the Caribbean Sea and into the Gulf of Mexico this week. Tropical development is not expected, but heavy rainfall could flood areas already saturated by almost daily rainfall since the beginning of the month. The weather system, now designated as Invest 90L by the National Hurricane Center in Miami, is east of Belize and producing a large area of disorganized weather as it slowly moves north. “To make sure we are absolutely prepared, today, I also directed FWC Executive Director Eric Sutton to pre-position and stage its high water vehicles and all other flood response resources so they may be rapidly deployed to assist Floridians in need in the event of any flooding,” said Scott in a release from his office.
  • A 5-year-old girl in Athens, Alabama, gave her mom the surprise of a lifetime during a trip through a McDonald’s drive-thru. >> Read more trending news  Briana Blankenship shared the video of her daughter, Taylor, saying the word “mama” for the first time, according to WXIN. Blankenship tells WXIN that Taylor has nonverbal autism and has never spoken until now: “I am ugly crying in the McDonald's parking lot and the employees probably think I'm crazy. In the drive thru I suddenly heard Taylor say MAMA.  “For those of you that don't know. Taylor is 5 and has nonverbal autism. She has NEVER said a word. EVER.  “As soon as she said it I grabbed my phone and started recording. I'm pretty sure I held up the drive thru line but there was no way I wasn't getting proof of this. I can't explain how unbelievably grateful and ecstatic I am right now. #AutismAwareness #BigWin.” The 5-year-old has been in speech therapy since she was 3 years old, WXIN reports. Blankenship said the next word the family hopes to hear is “dada.”
  • A south Louisiana man was arrested Saturday after sheriff’s deputies said they saw him driving a lawn mower while drunk. Brian K. Cheramie, 59, of Cut Off, is charged with second-offense driving while intoxicated, according to the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office. He was also booked on an outstanding contempt of court warrant. Sheriff’s Office officials reported that deputies saw Cheramie driving a lawn mower on the shoulder of the highway just after midnight Saturday morning. As they watched, he swerved into a lane of traffic and back onto the shoulder, the deputies said.  >> Read more trending news They pulled Cheramie over, at which point he admitted that he drank several beers before getting on the lawn mower, authorities said.  Cheramie also did badly on a field sobriety test. A breath test indicated he had a blood alcohol concentration of .144 percent, well over the legal limit of .08 percent. He was booked into the parish jail, where he remained in lieu of $2,800 bond on Tuesday.