60ºF

Beyond The Forecast: Sunsets are getting later, we tell you how late they get and why it’s happening

photo
(WSLS)

Happy Monday! It’s a soggy start to the new week as a storm system that produced severe weather for parts of the Southeastern United States moves through. We’ll be left with sunny and breezy conditions this afternoon after the rain exits.

A cold front is on the way for Tuesday. It could produce showers for some, but the primary impact will be the wind. It will increase to 15 to 25 miles per hour out of the west and northwest. Gusts could peak as high as 45 miles per hour in parts of the Roanoke Valley, New River Valley and Highlands!

A few power outages and/or downed trees will be possible while the wind is whipping. It would be a good idea to weigh down your trash cans and keep two hands on the wheel while driving.

photo
(WSLS)

Temperatures will take a tumble under mostly clear skies Tuesday night and if the wind will back off enough, there could be some frost development in spots early Wednesday. Temperatures will be too warm for frost development on any other day this week.

photo
(WSLS)

The next big rain maker locally will come on Thursday. We can examine the energy in the upper levels of the atmosphere around that time and see parts of the South could be dealing with severe storms once again.

The severe outlook for us is low because we’re likely to be on the cool side of that system, but look for a good dose of rain.

photo
(WSLS)

Switching gears to some news I think everyone will be excited about, sunsets are getting later!

Today marks a milestone as the sun will go down at exactly 8 p.m. We hit a peak in late June and early July with a sunset at 8:44 p.m.

photo
(WSLS)

You may be wondering why sunsets are later during the spring and summer. Daylight Saving Time plays a role, but the primary cause is the tilt of the Earth during the warmer seasons of the year.

On the spring equinox, the sun’s rays are pointed directly at the Equator and we roughly have equal day and night. As we get closer to the start of summer, the focus of the sun shifts closer to the Tropic of Cancer. Its rays will be directly on that 23.5 degree north latitude line on the summer solstice, which falls on June 20 this year.

photo
(WSLS)

Fortuna, North Dakota sees the latest sunsets in the contiguous United States during early summer. The sun doesn’t go down until after 10 p.m. there! Parts of the Arctic Circle receives 24 hours of daylight during summer.

As summer rolls along, sunsets will start to trend earlier in southwest Virginia. The sun will go down before 8 p.m. starting August 24. We’ll have close to equal day and night on the fall equinox in late September and the earliest sunset locally will come in early December (around 5 p.m.).

You can always get specific forecast details for your zone, whether it’s the Roanoke Valley, New River Valley, Southside, or elsewhere in southwest Virginia, anytime at WSLS.com/weather. Know your zone!

In case you missed it, we’re posting great weather content on WSLS.com. Here are a few links from the past week to check out:

If you prefer your weather information delivered by social media, you can find Your Local Weather Authority on both Facebook and Twitter.

-- Justin McKee


About the Author: