The Winter Solstice, or the day that Old Man Winter is supposed to officially arrive, is on Tuesday, December 21st, at 11:38 pm Coordinated Universal Time (UCT), or in the Eastern Time Zone at 6:38 pm.
For the first time in almost 500 years, the Winter Solstice will coincide with a total lunar eclipse. This is also the first full lunar eclipse in almost two years.
The eclipse will begin after midnight Monday and the moon will be totally blacked out at by about 2:40 am EST early Tuesday morning. The lunar eclipse will be visible across North America, weather permitting.
NASA is hosting two live webchats to celebrate the special event, one this afternoon between 3-4 pm EST and another entitled "Up All Night" between midnight and 5 am.
Most of us in the Northern hemisphere will attest to the fact that Winter has been with us for quite a while.
In Minnesota's Twin Cities, the average annual temperature is 7C (45F). So cold and snow are something that Minnesotans are used to. During the winter of 1949/50, 432 cm (170 inches) fell.
This year, however, on December 14th one full week before Winter was even supposed to arrive, Mineapolis had almost 60 cm (24 inches). There was so much snow that the weight of it actually caused the Teflon roof at The Metrodome to collapse. That same day, across the mid-West, 20 people died in of snow-related accidents.
Again, earlier this month, a full two weeks before the Winter Soltice, a perfect storm occurred over the small town of Lucan, Ontario. For three full days there were, what we in Southern Ontario know as "lake effect" snow, and when the sun finally broke through the clouds, 177 cm (or 70 inches) of the white stuff had been dumped on their tiny town.
In Europe, things are not much better.
Scotland has been hit with numerous storms, the first of which forced the resignation of their Transport Minister, Stewart Stevenson, over his Ministry's handling of the extreme weather event. Heavy snowfall caused the closure of Scotland's major highways, the M8, M9 and A80. Hundreds of travelers were stuck in their cars for an overnight and thousands were left stranded with no access to public transit.
It is being reported that the coldest December is 100 years is happening right now and the weather in Britain and Europe is creating a holiday nightmare for travelers on both sides of The Pond.
680News is reporting that stranded travelers trying to get home through Heathrow Airport in London, England are being frustrated beyond belief. One Canadian woman is quoted as saying: "It is unbelievable what we in Canada would call a typical day, here it grounds everything to a halt." Karen Steele and her husband have been told that the earliest flight home for them will be on the day after Christmas, Boxing Day.
Lady Gaga is apparently agog over the fact that her Paris show had to be postponed due to the weather, to the point that she was forced to twotweet the following:
All 28 of my trucks for the Monsterball were detained by the French government going on over 26 hrs, 2 of my employees were arrested trying ...to get into Paris so we could perform. I am furious and devasted, its unfair to my fans and to me.
Yes, Mother Nature and France's labor laws are all about being fair to the one with fireworks coming out of her underwear.
And we've also just completed the year where the environmental activists have completed the transformation of our thought processes regarding "global warming" and are now calling it "climate change."