You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myPalmBeachPost.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myPalmBeachPost.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myPalmBeachPost.com.

NEW: It’s the spring equinox today, when day and night are equals


The universe is calling winter kaput today as the sun’s rays cross Earth’s celestial equator, and day and night finish as equals.

March 20 is the spring equinox, the astronomical end of the darkest, coldest days of the year.

And while most of America set their clocks forward one hour March 12, the equinox is nature’s promise that earlier sunrises and later sunsets are imminent. The sun rises due east and sets due west on the equinox.

Check The Palm Beach Post radar map.

“It means from now on, for the next six months, the days will be longer than the nights,” said Sam Storch, a retired astronomy professor and member of the Astronomical Society of the Palm Beaches. “It is an opportunity to point out that the ancients were more in touch with how things changed in the sky than we are, and used the changes as benchmarks in their lives.”

Related: It snowed in Palm Beach County, really

In spring, the sickle-shaped head and torso of the constellation Leo appear in the eastern sky as belted Orion retires to the west, eventually disappearing in the sun’s glare by June’s summer solstice.

Storch said the rise of Leo was a signal for farmers to begin clearing fields for planting season.

Download The Palm Beach Post WeatherPlus app here.

“Orion reminds us that winter has come to an end as we see it falling sadly into the twilight of the west,” Storch said.

Astronomical seasons don’t correspond with meteorological seasons, which are grouped neatly by months to correspond with what are supposed to be the coldest or warmest days of the year. Meteorological winter ended March 1, while astronomical winter ends with the spring equinox.

Of course, Mother Nature is apt to flaunt rules. It brought some of the coldest air of the season to South Florida on Thursday after man’s calendar said winter was done. Temperatures dropped to 46 degrees at Palm Beach International Airport, a full 15 degrees below what’s average for mid-March.

Jacksonville and Gainesville set record low temperatures overnight Wednesday into Thursday morning, dipping to 28 and 25 degrees, respectively.

Related: See photo gallery of winter storm hitting Northeast

In Washington, D.C. the late-season cold front caused widespread damage to the city’s renowned Japanese flowering cherry trees, which began budding early because of a mild winter.

According to a National Park Service statement, blossoms suffer damage at 27 degrees. The Capitol hit 24 degrees for several hours.

“Because the blossoms are so close to peak bloom and are exposed from the protection of the buds, they are particularly vulnerable to cold temperatures,” the statement said.

Chris Fisher, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Miami, said the first week of astronomical spring should offer true spring-like weather for South Florida with near-normal temperatures in the high 70s and mostly sunny skies.

“We may see a weak cold front, but nothing like what we just saw,” Fisher said. “Other than dropping dew points a little, there won’t be any real impact.”

If you haven’t yet, join Kim on Facebook , Instagram and Twitter .



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Nation & World

5 guys, one bench, same pose contribute to lifetime of memories
5 guys, one bench, same pose contribute to lifetime of memories

A 35-year tradition continues with the same five guys, on the same bench in the same location. John Wardlaw, Mark Rumer-Cleary, Dallas Burney, John Molony and John Dickson have been friends for more four decades, CNN reported. >> Read more trending news Wardlaw and Dickson were the first two to meet. Wardlaw’s family rented a home from...
Alaska Airlines to host eclipse-chasing flight in August
Alaska Airlines to host eclipse-chasing flight in August

Alaska Airlines will be chasing the first coast-to-coast total solar eclipse in United States history since 1918. On August 21, a special charter flight for select astronomy enthusiasts and eclipse chasers will allow passengers to see the eclipse from more than 35,000 feet above the earth. The flight will depart Portland at 7:30 a.m. and fly off the...
Celebrate Harry Potter’s 20th anniversary
Celebrate Harry Potter’s 20th anniversary

It is hard to believe, but it has been 20 years since the “The Boy Who Lived” first hit our bookshelves. The first Harry Potter book, “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone,”which is  known as “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” in the U.S., was published June 26, 1997. The anniversary is...
Michelle Obama appeared at the BET Awards and Twitter can't handle it
Michelle Obama appeared at the BET Awards and Twitter can't handle it

Former first lady Michelle Obama made a cameo appearance via video message at Sunday night’s BET Awards and Twitter is still overflowing with feelings. “Barack and I are so sorry that we can’t be there tonight in person,” she said as Chance The Rapper was honored with the Humanitarian Award, recognizing his activism...
$1M welfare fraud investigation ends in arrests, police say
$1M welfare fraud investigation ends in arrests, police say

A rabbi is among several people in New Jersey who were arrested Monday in raids by federal and state authorities in a multimillion-dollar welfare fraud investigation. >> Read more trending news Rabbi Zalmen Sorotzkin and seven others are being charged, accused of taking public assistance and defrauding the government of $1.3 million over recent...
More Stories