Thursday, March 21, 2013

Spring Arrived in Provincetown This Morning at 7:02 AM

A bit of snow can't stop these crocuses from springing up.
With snow on the ground, the first day of spring, or the Vernal Equinox of 2013, brought us an absolutely beautiful, sunny day, if you didn't mind wind chill factors that made it feel like the mid-twenty-degree range for most of the day.
Equinox is a Latin term meaning "equal night" and it happens twice every year, in the spring and in the autumn, when the length of the night and the length of daylight are roughly equal all around the world. The Vernal (spring) Equinox occurs at the precise moment when the Sun, which is moving northward, crosses the celestial equator. On this day, the sun rises exactly due east and sets exactly due west.
As the sun moves steadily northward by a tiny bit each day, the daylight hours become longer by roughly two or three minutes every day over the next three months, bringing us the longest day of the year, or the Summer Solstice, on about the 20th of June. From that point on, the Sun begins once again moving southward, making daylight shorter by a couple of minutes or so each day for about another three months, until the Autumnal Equinox, when the Sun once again aligns precisely with the equator, rising and setting exactly to the east and west of us on that day.
Over the years, the average Provincetown temperature on this day has been a high of 45 degrees with the low at 30, but we're a bit cooler than average right now. Today's high was 39 degrees, which we reached just after 2 PM; 6 degrees cooler than most years have been on this day. Our low temperature today was 28 degrees at 2:25 AM, with the record low for PTown in March being 6 degrees back in '72. But the real shocker is the record high temperature for this day. Go ahead, take a guess... No, guess higher... Nope, higher than that... The high temperature in Provincetown on March 20th, 1959, was 76 degrees, and the all-time record for March is even weirder, when PTown's temperature on March 30th, 1977, reached 79 degrees!
So don't despair as we keep getting snow (likely another couple of inches or so tonight) and chilly temperatures (about 6 degrees cooler than average) as spring begins. Provincetown has better weather than most anywhere in New England, and there is nowhere more beautiful, so get out of the house and enjoy the unfolding of the PTown spring that awaits us.

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