You may not believe it, but this whole past week was still spring-time.  Crazy, right?!  We reached highs at or above 90 three times in the past week.  That's led most of us to think that Mother Nature is a bit of an eager beaver this time around.  She just couldn't wait until today to force us to turn our A/C units on.  Well...now summer is here, thanks to the Summer Solstice. 

Just what is the summer solstice? 

At 6:51 this morning, the sun reached a point directly over the Tropic of Cancer, which is located at 23.5 degrees N latitude.  To put it in perspective, this imaginary line cuts across Mexico.  Meanwhile, in the southern hemisphere, their winter begins.  Earth itself is at a 23.5 degree tilt, which is why we have seasons in the first place.  The positioning of the sun relative to this tilt will account for how much beam spreading there is.  In the summer, the sun is higher in the sky.  In the winter, it's relatively lower.  The sun's position in the summer relative to the northern hemisphere allows for less beam spreading, as it is at a higher angle.  Having said that, don't look at the sun!  That is a very bad idea! 

Because of today's event, you'll often hear folks say, "It's the longest day of the year!"  Let's rephrase that, since everyday I've ever been around for lasts 24 hours.  What we really mean when we say this is that this is the day where the northern hemisphere experiences the most sunlight.  To put it in other terms, our sunrise was at 6:12 AM and it will set tonight at 8:51 (the longest amount of time the sun will be above the horizon all year).  Partly to mostly cloudy skies today will likely inhibit our ability to see the sun for much of the day, but trust me, it's still there. 

From a weather perspective, we've already been in meteorological summer since June 1st.  And in the Tri Cities, boy have we been in summer.  Check out these statistics on 90 degree days in the TRI:

90 Degree Statistics

By this time of the year, we typically only reach the big 9-0 twice.  This year, we've reached it five times.  As you can guess, we are a bit ahead of schedule.  Now that summer is here, what will it hold?  Can we expect to see more 90s, or will we find relief in the rain department?  Stick around and find out! 

---Meteorologist Chris Michaels---

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