15 January 2003
When, precisely, is the Dead of Winter? Where I live, you can make a case for this week. The 40-year average of temperatures bottoms out during this period (at 46 high, 26 low), then slowly turns upward. And contrary to most people's intuition, the sunrise gets as late as it ever does (7:40 am) this week. (The solstice is indeed the shortest day of the year, about nine hours and 45 minutes, but the sunset reaches its earliest point 5:15 pm in early December. I attribute this situation to the state's position near the far edge of the Central time zone.)
By these standards, spring is on the way: today's average high is 47 and the sunrise is at 7:39. Perhaps needless to say, it's supposed to snow tonight.