Just like relatives arriving for the holidays, it's that time again for a visit from winter!

When Did Winter Officially Arrive?

Winter officially arrived in the Northern Hemisphere on Tuesday, December 21st, 2021, at 10:59 am Eastern Standard Time. It’s the exact moment when the northern hemisphere is tilted as far away from the Sun as it can be.

The first day of winter is also the day of the year with the fewest hours of sunlight in the whole year (if we can even see the sun here in West Michigan!).

In West Michigan the sun will slowly start setting later in the day, however, for a few weeks, our sunrise times also continue to be a little later in the day.

The earliest sunset times in Grand Rapids actually occurred on Wednesday, December 8th and Thursday, December 9th. On those two days, the sun set at 5:09:41 pm.

The sunrise times will continue to get later until January. The latest sunrise time in Grand Rapids for the year occurs on Sunday, January 2nd, and Monday, January 3rd of 2022. The sunrise time for those two days is 8:12:14 am.

If you want to countdown until spring, it officially arrives on Sunday, March 20th, at 11:33 am Eastern Daylight Time.

What is the Difference Between Astronomical and Meteorological Winter?

Arriving on Tuesday, December 21st is what is called the "Astronomical" winter. The "Meteorological" winter started on December 1 and ends on February 28th. Meteorological seasons are based on the annual temperature cycle and also the climatological patterns observed on Earth.

The Shortest Day

So get out there and enjoy the shortest day of the year with only 09:03:48 of daylight. Looking on the bright side of things -- if you hate the short days, on December 22nd the day will be two seconds longer! Our days gradually gain a little time everyday, and in the month of January, our days get about 50 minutes longer.

 

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