All Weather News

The Land of the Midnight Sun lives up to its name

21 Jun 2014, 5:19 am



With the summer solstice set to occur at 6:51 AM ET (3:51 AM PT) on Saturday morning, many of you are already scrambling to go get your bathing suits, extra charcoal for the barbecue and load up on sunscreen at your favorite buy-in-bulk warehouse store (you’ve probably done all that, but that’s neither here nor there).


But I want to pick out my favorite part of the summer solstice (other than it being summer, my favorite season, of course). In Alaska, dubbed the land of the midnight sun, the sun won’t set tonight in Barrow, and in Fairbanks, you’ll only get two-and-a-half hours of nighttime.


In Barrow, a town of about 4,200 situated on the northern tip of Alaska on the Arctic Sea, the sun hasn’t set since May 11th and it won’t set again until either July 31st or August 1st! Of course, in the winter, the sun won’t rise for almost two months in Barrow, either. But that’s neither here nor there.


New York City will receive over 15 hours of sunlight on its longest day, Seattle will get over 16 hours, and the southern states, less affected by the earth’s tilt towards the sun, will get approximately 14 hours or so of sunlight, depending on exactly where you are.


I’d like to clear up one final myth before you can go on and enjoy the start of summer- the seasons (as I’ve heard in the past) are NOT caused by the distance between the earth and the sun.. They are caused by the tilt in the earth’s rotation towards the sun. In fact, the earth is actually further away from the sun during summer in the northern hemisphere (by about 3 million miles!) than during the winter.


In the meantime, enjoy your first day of summer (watch out for severe weather potential in the Central Plains once again this weekend), and if you’re in northern Alaska, enjoy your endless day!


Meteorologist Chris Bianchi

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