MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Believe it or not, spring 2020 is coming to an end as we head past the halfway point of June. Summer officially kicks off this Saturday, June 20th at 4:43 p.m. CDT with the summer solstice.
That is the exact moment when the sun reaches its highest position in the sky in the Northern Hemisphere. Saturday also marks the longest day of the year in terms of total daylight -- barely.
We will experience 14 hours, 16 minutes and 36 seconds of total daylight in Montgomery on Saturday. That’s less than one second more daylight than what we will see on Sunday the 21st.
Unfortunately with the official astronomical start of summer comes shorter days. As backwards as it sounds, once summer begins our total daylight drops each day until winter begins in late December.
“So if the days are shorter, why are July and August the hottest months of the year?”
Put simply, there’s a lag time between the day with the most (and strongest) sunlight and the hottest days of the year. The sun is still working to warm up the lakes, oceans and the land all across the Northern Hemisphere in June. It takes some extra time for the water and land to “store” the sun’s warmth, which is why July and August typically bring the most intense heat.
It’s not just the total length of daylight that we lose at the end of June. We also see our sunsets get earlier and earlier. The latest sunset of 2020 will be 7:56 p.m.. That sunset time will occur from June 25th to July 3rd.
By August 1st the sunset will occur at 7:42 p.m.; by September 1st the sun will set at 7:08 p.m.! Happy summer, everyone!