Paul is a full-time fifth-grade teacher at an elementary school in Fairfield ... Paul is an Emmy award winner, five-time Emmy nominee, and four-time winner of the Connecticut Associated Press Broadcasters' Association award for 'Best Weathercast' ... The local weather journal is a two-time winner of the Communicator Award of Distinction ... Paul was inducted into the Housatonic Community College Hall of Fame and received the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2012 ... Follow Paul on Twitter @PaulPiorek ...

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Spring Arrives This Thursday

Tomorrow is the last full day of Winter. However, Old Man Winter has no intentions of packing his bags and leaving just yet. Although today will be mostly sunny, it will be cooler-than-normal once again with afternoon high temperatures in the upper 30s. Spring officially arrives in the Northern Hemisphere this Thursday, March 20, at 12:57 p.m. EDT. That's when the direct rays of the Sun pass over the Equator, technically creating "equal day and equal night" over the face of the Earth.

I've always observed the change of seasons with more reverence and awe than New Year's Eve. After all, the beginning of a new year is an arbitrary date which can actually be recognized just about any time during the year. However, an equinox or a solstice is a much more meaningful "event" and can be explained astronomically. The time is exact and changes every year although, for the most part, the date doesn't vary much.

Spring

The change of seasons is due to the 23.4 degree tilt of the Earth's axis. Because of the tilt, we receive the Sun's rays most directly in the Summer. In the Winter, when we are tilted away from the Sun, the rays pass through the atmosphere at a greater slant, bringing lower temperatures. If the Earth rotated on an axis perpendicular to the plane of the Earth's orbit around the Sun, there would be no variation in day lengths or temperatures throughout the year, and we would not have seasons.

Now that Winter is just about in our rear-view mirror, how did we fare as far as snow is concerned? Officially, more than four-and-a-half feet (56.3") of snow fell this season at Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Stratford. That's more than double the 25.2" normal, but slightly below last year's total (61.3") through March 17. This season's snowfall approached the 62.6" total from three years ago.

Spring2

Fair weather is expected through early tomorrow afternoon before rain arrives late in the day through tomorrow night. No major storms are expected over the course of the next seven days. In fact, daytime high temperatures will climb to near 50 degrees for the first day of Spring. However, much colder air is expected by the start of next week.

Happy Spring!

Paul