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Eric Elwell: 7 surprising facts about summer

Published: Monday, June 19, 2017 @ 3:06 PM

Meteorologist Kirstie Zontini explains why summer starts on June 21st.

Ready or not, here comes summer.

Summer will officially begin early tomorrow morning just after midnight, at 12:24 a.m. Granted, it has felt like summer for much of the last week thanks to the heat and humidity.

RELATED: Warm spring means hot summer likely

For the Northern Hemisphere, summer begins when the sun’s zenith reaches its northernmost point and the Earth’s North Pole tilts directly towards the sun, at about 23.4 degrees. It’s also known as the northern solstice because it occurs when the sun is directly over the Tropic of Cancer in the Northern Hemisphere. Of course, this is the first day of winter for the Southern Hemisphere.

Typically, the first day of summer is also the longest day of the year. Because summer officially begins just after midnight Wednesday morning, both today and Wednesday will have 14 hours, 59 minutes and 19 seconds of full daylight. After Wednesday, we will lose about 3 and a half minutes of daylight by the end of the month and then lose over 40 minutes in the month of July.

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Here are seven other interesting facts about the summer months you may or may not know:

1. The word solstice derives from Latin, meaning ‘sun stands still’. This word was chosen because when the solstice occurs the sun appears to stand still.

2. Every year on the summer solstice, a unique baseball game is played in Fairbanks, Alaska on the solstice since the sun is out for almost 24 hours. The game begins around 10 p.m. and ends around 1 a.m. without any artificial lighting. The tradition originated in 1906 and has been played every year since 1960 by the Alaska Goldpanners.

3. The Eiffel Tower in France grows more than 6 inches thanks to the expansion of iron due to the heat of summer.

4. The dog days of summer typically are the weeks between July 3 and August 11. And no, it has nothing to do with it being so hot that dogs are lazy and lay around. The name came about because the Greeks and Romans associated the hottest days of summer with the star Sirius. Sirius was known as the “Dog Star” because it was the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major (large dog). Sirius also happens to be the brightest star in the night sky. Sirius is so bright that the ancient Romans thought it radiated extra heat toward Earth. During the summer, when Sirius rises and sets with the Sun, they thought Sirius added heat to the Sun’s heat to cause hotter summer temperatures.

5. Summers in the northern hemisphere are typically hotter than summer in the southern hemisphere due to the differences in amount of land masses. There is more land mass in the northern hemisphere which heats up faster than water. Of course, land also cools faster so typical winters in the southern hemisphere are milder than those in the north.

6. Earth is not the only planet to have a summer solstice. Mars’ solstice occurs a few days after earth’s June solstice. On Uranus, each summer solstice lasts for 42 years. This also means that each winter solstice lasts the same amount of time for the opposite hemisphere. Let’s just be thankful that we get to enjoy our seasons more often than every 42 years!

7. Finally, one of my most favorite facts is this one: Watermelon is the most popular summer vegetable in the United States. Watermelon is part of the cucumber, pumpkin, and squash family and consists of 92 percent water. The average American consumes 15 pounds of watermelon annually. Wow!

Eric Elwell is WHIO StormCenter 7 Chief Meteorologist. Contact him at eric.elwell@coxinc.com or follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

Cold with wind chills in teens today

Published: Friday, December 15, 2017 @ 3:30 AM
Updated: Friday, December 15, 2017 @ 12:54 PM

Few flurries possible today before a warm-up this weekend.

QUICK-LOOK FORECAST

  • Cold with a few flurries possible today
  • Wind gusts up to 25 mph this afternoon
  • Slight warm-up into the weekend
  • Rain showers arrive Sunday

RELATED: WHIO Doppler 7 HD Interactive Radar

DETAILED FORECAST

Today: Temperatures will slowly climb through the day with highs below normal in the lower 30s. Winds will increase into the afternoon and gusts may reach as high as 25 mph. These winds will create wind chills in the teens and 20s. Clouds will linger into the night, but it won’t be as cold with lows in the mid-20s.

>> RELATED: When will bitter cold pattern end?

Saturday: Sunshine returns for the weekend. Skies will be mostly sunny, and it will be breezy and a bit milder with highs in the lower 40s. Some more clouds arrive Saturday night, but it will be dry with lows in the lower 30s.

Sunday: Clouds will thicken with scattered showers developing. Temperatures will stay above normal with highs in the lower 40s. 

RELATED: 5-Day Forecast

Monday: Clouds will linger through the day with highs in the lower to mid-40s.

Tuesday: It will be mostly cloudy and cool with highs in the mid-40s.

WPAFB Friday Weather: Frigid start, clouds and dry this afternoon

Published: Friday, December 15, 2017 @ 12:52 AM

It will be a frigid morning with upper teens starting the day. Clouds will thicken up into the afternoon but it should remain dry.

>> RELATED: Bitter cold to ease ... for now

The breezy will pick up out of the west late in the day. 

Skies will clear tonight as temperatures fall back into the lower 20s. 

>> WHIO Doppler 7 Interactive Radar

A warming trend will get underway for the weekend with temperatures climbing into the lower to middle 40s. 

Sunshine will start the weekend with the threat for rain showers arriving by midday Sunday. Relatively milder weather is expected to stick around into next week.

Weather-related events make Google top trending searches for 2017

Published: Thursday, December 14, 2017 @ 6:11 AM

Major hurricanes and a solar eclipse topped Googles 2017 list of trending searches.

Google released their top searched items for 2017 and three of the searches were weather related, according to Storm Center 7 Meteorologist Kirstie Zontini.

Here’s the list:

1. Hurricane Irma

Hurricane Irma was Google's the most searched topic in 2017. Irma was the first category 5 hurricane of the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season. The powerful hurricane devastated Barbuda where it destroyed 95 percent of the island. Irma also moved to Florida where it made landfall twice, once in Cudjoe Island and again in Marco Island. Winds peaked for Irma at 185MPH. 

RELATED: Hurricane Irma reaches category 5

2. Matt Lauer 

3. Tom Petty 

4. Super Bowl 

5. Las Vegas Shooting 

6. Mayweather vs. McGregor Fight 

7. Solar Eclipse

The first coast to coast solar eclipse in almost a century was a sight to see...Safely of course. A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the sun and the earth casting a shadow on the earth. The solar eclipse August 21 had a path of totality that went from Oregon to South Carolina. On April 8, 2024, Dayton will be in the path of totality. 

RELATED: 2017 Solar Eclipse

8. Hurricane Harvey

Another one of the devastating hurricanes of the 2017 season. Texas and Louisiana will never forget Harvey. Hurricane Harvey was a major Category 4 storm which sat over south Texas and Louisiana for days dumping record breaking rain and creating catastrophic flooding. Harvey was the first major hurricane to make US landfall since 2005. 

RELATED: Hurricane Harvey devastates Texas

9. Aaron Hernandez 

10. Fidget Spinner

Wind Advisory in effect; temperatures drop into low 20s

Published: Wednesday, December 13, 2017 @ 4:11 AM
Updated: Wednesday, December 13, 2017 @ 11:30 PM

Another round of snow moves into the Miami Valley this evening.

Patchy drizzle or flurries will gradually end overnight. With falling temperatures, icy spots will be possible despite little snow accumulation, Storm Center 7 Chief Meteorologist Eric Elwell said. Gusty winds up to 45 mph remain possible, but gradually diminish. Temperatures will drop into the lower 20s by morning.

A Wind Advisory is in effect through 5 a.m. Thursday. The advisory is for the following counties: Auglaize, Butler, Champaign, Clark, Clinton, Darke, Greene, Logan, Mercer, Miami, Montgomery, Preble, Shelby, Warren and Wayne (Indiana.)

Wind Advisory(Graphic by Storm Center 7 Chief Meteorologist Eric Elwell)

>> WHIO Weather App-Winter

QUICK-LOOK FORECAST

  • Gusty winds, turning colder into Thursday
  • Chance for flurries, snow showers Friday
  • Warming trend for the weekend

5 Day Forecast with Meteorologist McCall Vrydaghs

DETAILED FORECAST

Thursday: Skies will remain mostly cloudy. It will be cold and breezy with highs in the upper 20s.

>> How salt works on roads

Futurecast(Storm Center 7 Chief Meteorologist Eric Elwell)

>> Geminid meteor shower peaks this weekend

Friday: Expect lots of clouds with breezy conditions. There will be the chance for a few flurries or snow showers, mainly across the northern Miami Valley. Little if any snow accumulation is expected. Highs will hold in the lower 30s.

>> WHIO Interactive Doppler 7 HD Radar

Saturday: A mix of sun and clouds will start the weekend. It will be breezy but not quite as cold with temperatures rebounding to near 40 degrees.

Thursday's Planner(Storm Center 7 Chief Meteorologist Eric Elwell)

Sunday: Increasing clouds with showers developing. Rain may begin briefly as a wintry mix before changing to all rain. Highs will be lower 40s. 

Monday: Clouds will linger with a chance for showers. Highs will hold in the lower 40s.