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Weather Talk: Shorter days, longer nights are becoming noticeable

One particularly noticeable feature of the change of the seasons is the sharp reduction in daylight.

Back in late June — at the time of the summer solstice — our days were almost 16 hours long. All summer the days have been getting shorter, but not at a noticeable rate.

By the last day of August, we still had 13 hours and 24 minutes of sunlight in the day. During September and October, we lose about three minutes of light each day and the daily change is obvious. The sunrise comes later and later while the sunset comes earlier and earlier.

By Sept. 30, our day will be just 11 hours and 45 minutes long. By the end of October, it will be just 10 hours and five minutes long.

Once the winter solstice rolls around, we will be down to eight hours and 31 minutes of light each day. And even that light will be feeble, coming from low in the southern sky on those rare December sunny days.

John Wheeler

John was born in Baton Rouge, LA, and grew up near Birmingham, Alabama. As a teenager, his family moved to Madison, Wisconsin, and later to a small town in northeast Iowa. John traces his early interest in weather to the difference in climate between Alabama and Wisconsin. He is a graduate of Iowa State University with a degree in meteorology. Like any meteorologist, John is intrigued by extremes of weather, especially arctic air outbreaks and winter storms.  John has been known to say he prefers his summers to be hot but in winter, he prefers the cold.  When away from work, John enjoys long-distance running and reading.  John has been a meteorologist at WDAY since May of 1985.

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