BY JOHN H. WALKER
THE DAILY SOUTHERNER
The first day of winter arrives at 12:11 p.m. Saturday afternoon in Edgecombe County. According to forecasters, it will feel anything but wintry.
On Friday, high temperatures will be in the upper 60s, slipping into the low 70s on Saturday before climbing near 80 degrees on Sunday.
There’s little change of precipitation over the weekend — 10 percent each on Friday and Saturday and 20 percent on Sunday — before a forecast high of 67 and a 100 percent chance of rain on Monday.
The rest of Christmas week will be a bit more wintry, with highs in the low 50s and lows near freezing or a little below.
Christmas Day is forecast to be a chamber of commerce-type day, with highs in the mid-50s and lows in the mid-30s. A bright sun with clear skies will gives youngsters the perfect opportunity to get outside and break in those new games.
Saturday — the Winter Solstice — is the shortest day of the year in regards to daylight hours. Locally, there will be nine hours, 43 minutes and 55 seconds of daylight with sunset at 5:05 p.m.
Beginning the very next day, the days get longer as the climb from winter’s grasp begins immediately.
The December solstice occurs when the sun reaches its most southerly declination of -23.5 degrees. In other words, it is when the North Pole is tilted 23.5 degrees away from the sun. Depending on the HYPERLINK "http://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/gregorian-calendar.html"Gregorian calendar, the December solstice occurs annually on a day between Dec. 20 and Dec. 23. On this date, all places above latitude 66.5 degrees north (Arctic Polar Circle) are now in darkness, while locations below a latitude of 66.5 degrees south (Antarctic Polar Circle) receive 24 hours of daylight.
(Some data in this story was derived from the website www.timeanddate.com)