The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

It was a full 50 days since the solstice on Tuesday — but more snow may be coming

More snow may be on the way, but the days are gettiong longer in Washington. Tuesday was the 50th day since the winter solstice, and we now have about an hour more of daylight.
More snow may be on the way, but the days are gettiong longer in Washington. Tuesday was the 50th day since the winter solstice, and we now have about an hour more of daylight. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
Comment

We have many excuses for not noticing or counting, but Tuesday was our 50th day since the winter solstice, and therefore a day that might merit a psychic celebration if not a public observance.

This is a city where the period of 100 days holds special political significance, beyond decimal simplicity. Based on a rough calculation, we may now congratulate ourselves on having passed through a dark time, the 100 days of least daylight that end one year and start the next.

Yet, in a way, it has recently seemed that we might be heading in the wrong direction, plunging into winter, not starting to emerge from it. A few days now loom before us that might help turn this season into a true winter of our discontent.

Such a designation, we should note, would be less metaphorical than meteorological.

But, on five of the days since Jan. 25, snow has already been measured here in Washington.

And a glance at current forecasts reveals that the word “snow” occurs with dismaying frequency.

However, it should also be noted that Tuesday provided little reason for winter weather grousing.

Tuesday reminded us that few complaints about a winter day can be countenanced when the mercury reaches 50.

And our high in Washington on Tuesday afternoon was 51. It was substantially gray, but for most of the afternoon at least, the winds seemed benign and unwintry.

As for Tuesday’s position as the endpoint of the days of greatest solar (and not necessarily psychological) darkness, this characterization can be roughly confirmed by the Time and Date Website.

Based on that site, Tuesday, 50 days after the solstice, offered 10 hours and 33 minutes of daylight from sunrise to sunset. On Nov. 1, according to the site, we had 50 days to go until the solstice, and the amount of daylight almost equaled Tuesday’s. It was 10 hours and 31 minutes. In that 100 day period, we lost an hour of daylight, and now have gained it back.

So, if it must snow, after 100 dark days, we may at least have more light to enjoy it in.

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