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John Wheeler, WDAY, Published September 21 2013

Weather Talk: We’re halfway between shortest, longest nights

The autumnal equinox will occur at 3:44 this afternoon. This means that the sun is directly in the middle of the sky over the equator at noon all around the world, making day and night roughly of equal length everywhere.

It means that the sun rose this morning very nearly due east and will set tonight very nearly due west. It means we are halfway between the shortest night of summer and the longest night of winter.

It means that for the next six months, the Southern Hemisphere will be getting more solar radiation than will the Northern Hemisphere. It does not, however, signal any sort of official start to fall weather. The equinox, itself, has nothing to do with the weather – at least not directly.

Obviously, the weather is behaving like autumn now. But it has been doing so with increasing regularity for several weeks. Today is the first day of astronomical fall, and this should not be confused with the first day of meteorological fall.

Have a weather question you’d like answered? Email weather@wday.com,

or write to WDAY Stormtracker, WDAY-TV, Box 2466, Fargo, ND 58108 Read the blog at http://stormtrack.areavoices.com/.