Today, December 1 marks the first day of meteorological winter. And with a significant winter storm bearing down on the northeast this weekend, it appears right on time.
December 1 marks the arrival of the 2019-2020 Meteorological Winter Season. Meteorological winter is a three month period that runs through to the end of February. In the Northern Hemisphere, it is the coldest three month period of the year. Meteorological Winter is different from Astronomical Winter, which is based on when the sun reaches the most southern point on the globe, the Tropic of Capricorn. If you are right on the Tropic of Capricorn at 12 noon on the first day of Astronomical Winter, the sun will be directly overhead. This year, that date is Saturday, December 21. While winter is starting in the Northern Hemisphere, summer begins in the Southern Hemisphere. The word “winter” comes from the Germanic “wintar” which in turn is derived from the root wed meaning ‘wet’ or water’, and so signifying a wet season. In Anglo-Saxon cultures, years were counted by the winters, so a person could be said to be “2 winters old”.
While meteorological winter begins, people are still picking up the pieces from a destructive 2019 hurricane season that impacted the Atlantic hurricane basin with severe tropical cyclones.
While meteorological spring will begin on March 19, 2020, the 2020 Hurricane Season for both the Atlantic and Central Pacific basins will start on June 1, 2020.